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A Hero's Journey Essay

867 words - 4 pages

Tens of thousands of stories fit into the hero’s journey archetype created by Christopher Volger. Out of these, a large number of them are stories with remakes that share notable resemblances in their heroes’ journeys. However, none of these quite match those very strong similarities found between Homer’s The Odyssey and Joel Coens’s O Brother, Where Art Thou? These stories share crucial components of the hero’s journey whether it be “crossing the first threshold,” where the main characters of both stories begin their long adventure that transforms them into heroes; “the supreme ordeal,” where the main characters are both deprived of the opportunity to get home sooner; or “return with elixir,” where Odysseus and Ulysses both return to their homes alive the comfort of their wives. In their major plot points, the novel The Odyssey and the motion picture O Brother convey obvious similarities in key elements of their heroes’ journeys such as “crossing the first threshold,” “the supreme ordeal,” and “return with elixir.”
Firstly, the main characters of both stories, Odysseus and Ulysses, share qualities of the “crossing the first threshold” that quite clearly show the similarities in these stories. These parts of the heroes’ journeys for Odysseus and Ulysses both consist of the two beginning their long journeys and beginning the transformations from ordinary people to heroes. In The Odyssey, this part of the journey is when both Odysseus starts his journey to Troy to fight in the Trojan War and when his transformation from ordinary citizen to hero commences. In O Brother, this section of the journey is when Ulysses and his fellow jail mates break out of jail and begin the long journey home that initiates his character shift from an average prisoner to an above-average hero. These are “crossing the first threshold” considering that, “Hero commits to adventure, fully enters Special World, no turning back,” defines “crossing the first threshold,” and in both instances, the main characters leave their place of origin and begin their heroes’ journeys with no possibility of turning back. Due to the strong parallelism between these elements of the heroes’ journeys, one knows that the “crossing the first threshold” in these two stories resemble one another well.
Secondly, Odysseus’s and Ulysses’s “supreme ordeals” also share comparable traits. The “supreme ordeal” is defined as, “Fortunes of hero hit bottom in direct confrontation with greatest fear… brought to brink in battle with hostile force with possible death.” The section from The Odyssey...

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