The film O Brother Where Art Thou is cleverly and intelligently based on the famous Odyssey by the well-known Homer. There are quite a few distinctive differences though. While in the movie, Ulysses didn’t have any affairs, his wife did not wait patiently for him, he had six daughters, and each of his accompanying men stayed with him until the end of the journey. In the poem the setting was vastly unlike; Odysseus wasn’t an escaping criminal during the depression. Other than those and a few others, there were many parallel aspects, situations and relationships that had a resemblance to the Odyssey.
In the epic poem Circe turns the men into animals, in the movie one of characters believe that his companion has been turned into a toad. Ulysses’ men are very loyal to him and agree to go through with his rash and spontaneous plans. Ulysses and Odysseus both have their faults and arrogance. Also, the love of a family is very important and is almost the center of both of these stories. This movie’s setting is placed back into the Great Depression where the main characters are escaping from a penitentiary. Ulysses is running away from the police who are out to catch him.
Odysseus made this journey himself and isn’t running from anyone, though the gods cause him an awful amount of trouble. By the end of the poem, all of Odysseus’ men are dead and gone, while both of Ulysses’ friends make it with him until the very end of their journey. Though there are more men in the actual Odyssey, there is a level of loyalty in both these stories. The men stand behind their leaders, ready to help them with any crazy plan they come up with next. They do question their fearless leader but only once. The men are just as strong as Odysseus and Ulysses even if they aren’t as distinguished as them.
There are corresponding characters and situations with both of these captivating tales. In Homer’s Odyssey, Circe turns sailors into various animals once they drink her honey-sweet wine. Odysseus comes to rescue and tricks her so that they are changed back into who they were before the transformation. In O Brother Where Art Thou, three women represent Circe and her nymphs. They start to seduce the men and have Ulysses drink the wine. Suddenly, the men wake up and one of them is yet to be found. However something is thumping from inside his empty clothes.
A toad pops out and they tend to believe that the now vanished women had turned him into this amphibian. Throughout his journey, Odysseus has affairs with almost all of the women he meets despite the fact that he is trying to get home to his ever-faithful wife and one son that is determined that his father is still alive. Ulysses is also trying to get home to his wife, but for a different reason. His wife, Penny, is about to get married to a bonified suitor and his six daughters all believe he’s dead. These six girls were told by there mom that their father was hit by a train.
Although Odysseus and Ulysses are considered heroes, they still have their faults. Odysseus is very ignorant and feels like he knows everything. He also overestimates himself numerous times with his arrogance. Ulysses is somewhat conceited and always has to have a certain type of hair jell to hold it back with. He also becomes rather agitated when it gets ruined. The Odyssey and O Brother Where Art Thou are two notable and ingenious stories that will thrill any audience. The similarities make it even more interesting to watch and ponder between them.