Editor’s Note: This is a comparison between the ancient epic, The Odyssey and the modern film O Brother, Where Art Thou? One important point is that in the citations for the film, the time on the DVD version of the movie is given. In other words, if you go to that particular point on the DVD, you can see what is being discussed. We will write a custom essay sample on Comparison of the Odyssey and O Brother, Where Art Thou?> specifically for you for only $/page. Order Now. We will write a custom essay sample on Comparison of the Odyssey and O Brother, Where Art Thou?> specifically for you. for only $ $/page. Order Now. Odyssey vs o Brother Where Art Though. Cinematic Analysis o Brother Where Art Thou. Comparison Essay By Charles Margiotta. Documents Similar To O Brother Where Art Thou Essay. Alden, Rec. Clayton, A Penelopean Poetics. Reweaving the Feminine in Homer’s Odyssey.5/5(9). The Odyssey in Oh Brother, Where Art Thou The movie O Brother, Where Art Thou is a wonderful movie that was directed by the Coen brothers. The movie features a cast of talented actors, the movie has also won several awards. The book The Odyssey is a timeless classic and it . O Brother Where Art Thou? is a modern retelling of the classic book, The Odyssey by Homer. Lack of self control is illustrated in both sources numerous times, and seems to referr to how it was a problem, and still continues to be a problem.
- The Odyssey and O Brother, Where Art Thou?
- Comparison of the Odyssey and O Brother, Where Art Thou?>
- The Odyssey and O Brother, Where Art Thou?
The Odyssey and O Brother, Where Art Thou?
One important point is that in the citations for the film, the time on the DVD version of the movie is given. In other words, if you go to that particular point on the DVD, you can see what is being discussed.
As long as humans have gathered together, they have told stories. One of the archetypes of storytelling is that of the lost soul, struggling to find his or her way home. Tumultuous experiences, terrible odds, and horrifying foes confront the protagonist, who must overcome them all, in order to successfully complete the journey.
Since this work was originally penned nearly three thousand years ago, many others have taken up the story and use it as a foundation for new renditions. Both versions show the protagonist struggling to reach home in order to save his family.
Both allow for supernatural elements to oppose, or at times to support, the hero on his journey. In essence, this story serves as a case study for what Robert Stam refers to as fidelity between film and novel or written work. What does it mean to take a piece of literature and put it onto film?
Is it appropriate for the filmmaker to make changes, or must he or she tell the story exactly as written? While there are elements of storytelling that transcend the medium, there are many that do not, and therefore each medium must stand on its own merits.
Therefore, it is appropriate to consider the elements that are inherent in film and novel, and how those can, or cannot, be transferred from one to the other. Using examples from both stories, the method of storytelling, and the benefits and advantages of each can be made evident. Story Summary and Organization Both versions tell of a man, Odysseus in the written work and Ulysses Everett McGill called Everett in the film , who finds himself in dire straits for an extended period of time, fighting to return to his wife and child ren.
Companions share these experiences, some for long periods of time and others briefly, yet the protagonists focus on their ultimate goals, rather than on the needs or cares of the companions.
Comparison of the Odyssey and O Brother, Where Art Thou?>
Adversaries are placed before them, some more dangerous than others, and all are overcome. Eventually, the hero in each story finds himself returned to his loved ones, a wiser and more dedicated family man. While the basic story can be reduced to a few sentences, Homer utilized over 12, metered lines to flesh out the story, while the Coen Brothers used approximately an hour and forty-five minutes of screen time. The details that make up the bulk of each work demonstrate the similarities and differences in structure, focus, and storytelling approach.
Both film and epic poem use a similar structure; there is much parallel editing. Obviously, as the details of the story are changed so much, there are differences in what is taking place, but the manner in which the stories are organized is very similar.
The scene itself is not presented in real time, but is retold after the fact, such as his account of Polyphemus in Book IX. Likewise, there are sections when the story focuses upon Odysseus and others where Telemachos or Athena is the focal character. In this way, a form of parallel editing is utilized in the story. The film uses these same characteristics.
For the majority of the film, it is assumed that Everett is leading his companions to a financial windfall, but in the end, he must admit to them that he received a letter from his ex-wife, who will soon marry another, prompting his escape plan. This is information that the characters, and the audience, are given after the fact, allowing them to reinterpret earlier events.
Two separate story lines are also used in the film; one follows Everett and his companions, while the other provides needed information, regarding an ongoing political race that will become important at the end of the story. Again, parallel editing is used in the film, just as in the written work.
Odysseus and Everett Perhaps the most obvious difference in the two versions of the story is the fact that Odysseus is a famous king and warrior, while Everett is a convicted con man who has escaped prison. Odysseus is motivated to return to his loved ones and to regain his rightful place as ruler. He is generally forthright about his identity and purpose, unless he is absolutely required to deceive, while Everett tends to operate in the opposite manner.
Normally, he is lying, unless it is absolutely necessary to tell the truth. Everett was motivated to break out of his incarceration in order to stop his wife from marrying another man — one who would normally be considered a better choice of husband.
Both characters are arrogant and self-centered, but Odysseus assumes his status as king and soldier provides him this right, while Everett just assumes a high status, with little reason or justification. The pride of both characters is made manifest through the presentation their fastidious nature.
On occasion, Odysseus referred to his own appearance and prowess, how he had owned fine clothes and drawn the eyes of women Cf. Both men are prone to use others to accomplish individual goals, even if it means the others must suffer or die. Odysseus leaves a trail of broken and dead men in his wake, while Everett convinces his two prison-mates to escape with him, though one of them is due to be released in just a few days.
Everett has no concern for the others, as long as his own needs are met. Both characters are presented as eloquent speakers, able to influence others with their ability to communicate. In the penultimate confrontation in each story, matters proceed differently and the resolution of the problem is uniquely handled in each.
Odysseus, disguised as a beggar, eventually demonstrates his strength and prowess, strings his legendary bow, and kills his adversaries. His wife and daughters easily recognize Everett, disguised in order to avoid being recaptured by the authorities, and when his main adversary is confronted, Everett is soundly whipped.
Regardless of the differences, in the end, both men achieve their goals, regain their former positions, and win their wives. In The Odyssey, Telemachos is vital to the story. Not only does the son prove to be an impetus for Odysseus, he takes on an important role in his own right consider Book II: He sets out to seek his father, he opposes the enemy at home, and he holds things together until the father returns, when they both ultimately overcome the suitors.
In the film, however, there is no son. Everett has several children, all daughters first seen at There is no danger to the daughters by suitors or interlopers.
Likewise, the enemies that are encountered by Odysseus and Everett articulate a fidelity to the essence of the story, while clearly demonstrating that that essence can be presented in multiple ways.
Conversely, Everett encounters a one-eyed bible salesman who beats him and robs him, and crushes a frog that is believed to be a bewitched companion Eventually the bible salesman meets a bitter end, just as Polyphemus, so it is clear that there are similarities in the villains: There are also differences between the two versions of Cyclops. Both versions provide for a worthy adversary, who hinders the progress of the hero, and the differences showcase that both are suited to their settings.
Everett, on the other hand, not only encounters an equivalent of the Sirens, but so do his friends. We are not sure exactly what transpires at the moment of contact, but one companion is temporarily lost and Everett and another companion are rendered unconscious While Everett is not physically damaged, the Sirens do play a role in slowing his progress toward his ultimate goal.
There are many other minor characters that are presented in both versions, but one important similarity is the way both stories bring in popular cultural figures of the day. Nelson was a famous gangster of the Depression-era and would have been recognizable by the contemporary audience.
Adaptation The primary and most obvious change is the altered setting. Odysseus travels primarily by ship, while Everett rides in automobiles.
The Odyssey and O Brother, Where Art Thou?
While both versions have the protagonists kept as prisoners at one time or another, the written story has him kept in caves or bound by supernatural entities. The film utilizes a chain gang. The differences demonstrate that there is flexibility in what is translated from the text to the screen. The story, characters, theme, and other elements are not set in stone, but are variable, to be adjusted by the director and writer to fit the particular context of the work Hutcheon 8, The political components of the written story are limited to Odysseus returning home to assume his role as king, taking his place with his queen.
So why did the Coens not include a son in the film version? The simple answer is that they did not consider it necessary.
Homer wrote in ancient Greece, where paternal lineage was an important consideration. A man desired to have sons to continue on the family heritage. The Coens produced a film in a different era. No longer are daughters considered lesser offspring.
In fact, Everett takes special notice that they are his daughters and should carry his name. So while the parental concern is seen in both versions, the change from son to daughters can demonstrate a difference in social considerations.
He goes on to argue that the differences in the two media require that there be some differences in presentation The changing audience, from ancient Greece to modern America, necessitates some drastic changes to incorporate the social connotations that may be applied.
So the Coens no longer need a son to tell their story. A set of daughters will work just as well or better. Rather than attach particular importance to the father-son relationship of Homer, they are able to shift focus to the marital relationship between Everett and Penny his wife.
While the Odysseus-Penelope relationship was in important part of the written work, it may not be as important as that of Odysseus-Telemachos, which is not even a consideration in the film. Homer provides for a demi-god, the Cyclops Polyphemus, son of Poseidon, to oppose Odysseus. The simple fact is that a supernatural one-eyed monster would not fit into the Great Depression-era setting of the film.
A traveling salesman would be much more appropriate. Not only would this usually entail a terribly long film many, many hours in length , it would also bog the filmmaker down in details that simply do not make sense for that medium He goes further to insist that if a filmmaker has nothing new to add to the story, then there is no purpose in filming it at all In both versions, the hero is pursued and assaulted by supernatural forces.
Odysseus is constantly hounded by the offended Poseidon, and only escapes from his clutches through the aid of Athena and her interventions on his behalf Book I, Only the intervention of a flood saves Everett and his companions. The film entity is not Poseidon, though there is some symbolic irony in the fact that he is destroyed by water, but seems more akin to the Christian version of the devil, as described by the minor character Tommy Again, this demonstrates the differences in audience from one version to the other, from ancient Greece to modern America.
In the same manner, music plays a vital role in the film, while not so important in the written work. Since the film presents the story through sight and sound, it is only natural that such a medium will differ from the written work.
Odysseus is a warrior, while Everett becomes a singer and celebrity. This is only one example of the impact that music has on the film that is missing from the written story. Of course, in a written work, there is little capability to share a musical number, outside of the lyrics themselves, so the emotional impact of the song is muted.
The soundtrack was awarded a Grammy as Album of the Year and reached the top spot on the music charts, becoming an eight time platinum album Lewis.