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Elements Of Homer's Odyssey In The Coen Brothers' Oh Brother Where Art Thou

652 words - 3 pages

The Coen Brothers’ “Oh Brother Where Art Thou?”, loosely based on Homer’s classic adventure The Odyssey, is a film amusingly filled with themes of symbolism similar to those found in Homer’s epic, while still maintaining a sense of originality and style that they have become so renowned for. An exciting and entertaining blend of high adventure, humour, and heartfelt emotion, at first glance, the film barely resembles Homer’s poem: only certain elements are obvious, such as the main character’s name and the three sirens by the river. However, a deeper and more intense analysis of the film and text exposes numerous, if not more subtle references.

The adventures of the three main characters in the movie, Ulysses, Pete and Delmar include many encounters with characters similar to Homer’s Odyssey, such as the trio of Sirens, a Bible-salesman Cyclops, as well as other archetypes from southern folklore and pop culture such as the young blues musician, the Klan, and the infamous bank robber “Baby Face” Nelson. However, the biggest parallel between both pieces might have to be the striking similarities found in both main characters. Besides sharing similar names, their personality traits are almost identical. They are arrogant, yet sometimes uncertain, they are cunning, but still find themselves weak at times. This is very evident throughout the whole story, where both characters are very independent of others, especially when it comes to the help of the god(s). Odysseus’ audacity towards the gods causes quite a delay in his journey home, in particular because of his hostility towards Poseidon. On the other hand, Ulysses himself is not a very religious man. He cannot be lured into foolish tricks along with his friends. However, when push comes to shove, both characters realise where they stand and what needs to be done. They need to swallow their pride and put their egos...

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