O Brother Where Art Thou And The Odyssey Essay

Comparing "The Odyssey" And "O Brother Where Art Thou"

"Tell me, O muse..." (Page 1), is a quote used in the beginning of both The Odyssey and "O Brother Where Art Thou". The funny thing about this is that the directors of the movie "O Brother Where Art Thou" (Joel and Ethan Coen) never even read The Odyssey before making this film. Though not identical the movie contained several similarities to The Odyssey. Examples of these can be seen by the interactions with the sirens, encounters with one-eyed opponents and the initial shunning of our heroes by their wives upon their return.

"First you will come to the sirens, who enchant all who come near them. If anyone unwarily draws in too close and hears the singing of the Sirens, his wife and children will never welcome him home again."(Page 163)This is the warning foretold by Circe to Odysseus in The Odyssey. Circe explained to Odysseus that the only way to escape the Sirens was by putting wax in his crew's ears and having his crew tie Odysseus up to the mast of the ship until they pass the Sirens. Odysseus follows Circes advice and passes the Sirens unscathed. Just like in The Odyssey the Sirens use their singing to lure in Everett, Pete and Delmar down by the lake in "O Brother Where Art Thou". The difference between the Sirens in the book verses the movie is that in The Odyssey, Odysseus is able to pass the sirens. In "O Brother Where Art Thou", Everett and his "crew" are unable to escape the sirens temptations. Pete was unfortunately captured and sent back to prison.

Another similarity between The Odyssey and "O Brother Where Art Thou" are the Cyclops. In The Odyssey, Odysseus and his crew lands on the Island of the Cyclopes and discovers a large cave. They enter into the cave and feast on food they find within. This cave is the home of Polyphemus, an evil Cyclops, who soon returns and traps Odysseus and his crew in the cave. This monster proceeds to eat several of...

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O, Brother, Where Art Thou Compared to The Odyssey

O, Brother is on the left hand side; Odyssey on the right.
Blind railroad conductor prophesizes the future of the main characters.
Tiresias prophesizes the future of Odysseus and his crew in Land of the Dead.
Ulysuss Evert McGee: Cunning, quick-tongued, sharp, leader, wants to go home and see his family.
Odysseus: Cunning, quick-tongued, sharp, leader, wants to go home to see his family.
Characters disguised as KKK to free Tommy.
Odysseus and his crew hide under the sheep to escape from Polyphemus.
Big Dan T's death by the flaming, wooden cross.
Polyphemus' blindness caused by the flaming spear.
Evert's constant concern for his hair. (Use of hair products and hair nets, his pride.)
Odysseus' pride and tragic flaw.
Singing about their lives for money.
Odysseus telling King Alcinous about his tale for a ship ride home.
Pete and Delmar: Go along with everything Evert suggests, Pete ends up going to jail again and all three become outlaws because of it.
Odysseus' crew: Go along with everything Odysseus suggests, end up dead because of it.
Wear beards/disguises to sneak into political rally so Evert can talk to Penny.
Odysseus is disguised by Athena so he may talk to Penny at his house without the suitors knowing.
The baptizing scene: Pete and Delmar repent their sins, while Evert does not. They feel happy and forget about the treasure for awhile.
The Lotus Eater: Some of Odysseus' crew eat the lotus, but Odysseus doesn not. They are happy and forget of home.
Pete's betraying cousin reports the three convicts to the police.
Not directly paralleled, but represents the obstacles that had to be overcome in order to achieve their goal.
Governer Menelaus (Pappy O'Daniel Flower) trying to maintain control.
Three girls singing in the river
Big Dan T has one eye; "kills their friend"; attacks them.
Polyphemus, the cyclops; kills crew members; attacks them all.
The sheriff in pursuit of the escaped convicts.
Zeus getting angry with the crew and killing them... I think.
The three Harvey girls don't recognize their Father. Even when Evert tells them it's him, they don't believe him.
Telemachus doesn't recognize his own Father while he's disguised, and even when Odysseus reveals himself, Telemachus is still in disbelief and thinks that it is a God.
Penny: Loves Evert but almost decides on Vernon. Although, in the end, she decides on Evert. Refused to acknowledge he was there.
Penelope: Loves Odysseus but decides to hold a contest for the suitors, but she ends up with Odysseus. Refused to believe it was actually him.
Evert has to get the wedding rings in order to marry Penny.
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