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A Journey Of Adaptation Essay

1125 words - 5 pages

A great philosopher once said that the true measure of intelligence is the ability to change. When looking in context of great epics such as the Odyssey and the Iliad, one understands that it takes great effort to adapt these stories into relatable concepts that the common person can understand in today's society. Through symbolism and characterization, Dereck Walcott and the director of “O, Brother Where Art Thou?” Joel Coen, successfully adapts elements of plot structure, and conflict found in the famous Homeric epic, The Odyssey.
In the exposition of The Odyssey Homer begins the epic poem by invoking the Muse, asking for insight as the narrator begins to tell the story of the lost ...view middle of the document...

Both Odysseus and Ulysses value vanity as an aspect that is a necessity to defining themselves. This ideal of vanity prevents the success of both characters; Odysseus’s vanity is displayed when he yells his name and home to the Cyclops because he couldn’t live with the Cyclops not knowing who had slayed him. Likewise, Ulysses’ vanity is demonstrated as he applies pomade upon his hair throughout the entire length of the film knowing that the dogs are able to track the three friends easily. Nevertheless, multiple parallels can also be drawn between many other characters in the story and in the production. For example, a direct parallel can be drawn between Penny, the wife of Ulysses, and Penelope, the wife of the infamous Odysseus. In the movie when Ulysses finally reunites with his wife, he finds that is wife is being courted by multiple suitors just as in the Homeric tale the Odyssey. However, it does not stop there, upon being reunited with his wife, Ulysses finds out that his daughters believes he is dead just as when Telemachus believed he father had died during the Trojan War. Furthermore, the Polyphemus the Cyclops is paralleled through the characterization of Big Dan Teague. In the book, Polyphemus has his eye put out by Odysseus with a burning log. This is paralleled in the movie when Big Dan is nearly blinded by the sharpened stake of a Confederate flag. Lastly, when looking in the context of characterization one more parallel can be made between both stories. In the production of the movie, Coen explicitly depicts the sirens found in the story. As Ulysses and his comrades are making their way to their destination, three women are portrayed as the sirens that also distracted Odysseus from his journey back to Ithaca.
There are overarching similarities between Omeros and The Iliad that establishes between the two literary pieces an interconnected relationship. Within the Iliad, the reader observes an inherent battle between the Greeks, the Trojans, and the Gods within, and in Omeros the reader observes the battles between the Indigenous peoples, the Europeans and the Afro-Caribbean people of St. Lucia. Walcott uses this model to establish a common thread between both of the stories presented above. He does this first by using the characterization of Helen and Achille. In both stories, Achille makes a sacrifice of some monetary gain to...

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