Odessey - Eric Carlson CRN 16256 Prof Angela Thompson O...

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Eric Carlson CRN 16256 10/20/07 Prof. Angela Thompson O, Brother, Where Art Thou?; A Modern Look at the Odyssey The Cohen Brothers film “O, Brother, Where Art Thou?” casts into a 1920's perspective one of the greatest works of literature ever created, Homer's “Odyssey.” There are striking parallels between the film and the epic as well as subtle differences that refrain the film from a precise retelling. Our heroes bear the same burdens, follow roughly the same plot, and even share equally heroic Greek names. The film opens with a seemingly cunning and handsome man, Ulysses Everett McGill, escaping a prison farm. He is chained to two others, Delmor and Pete, who will help him on his journey home. The Odyssey's opening after the introductory “Telemachia” describes Odysseus “racking his own heart, growing with eyes wet scanning the bare horizon of the sea,” 1 where he sits stranded, imprisoned against his will on Calypso's island just wanting to go home. A difference to note, however, is that the Odyssey begins en medias res; Odysseus is near the end of his journey home while Ulysses' has just begun. This rearranging of events is a common difference between the film and epic. After escaping the guards, Ulysses and his friends come to railroad tracks meet a blind prophet. When they ask who he works for, he establishes a seemingly supernatural, mystical presence stating “I work for no man.” He tells them they have “a long journey ahead. A road fraught with peril,” mirroring the words of Tiresias, the blind prophet of the underworld in the Odyssey, who
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This essay was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course HC 221 taught by Professor Thompson during the Spring '08 term at Oregon.

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Odessey - Eric Carlson CRN 16256 Prof Angela Thompson O...

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