The Cohen Brothers' O Brother, Where Art Thou Essay examples

The Cohen Brothers' O Brother, Where Art Thou Essay examples

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O Brother, Where Art Thou, a film written and directed by the Coen brothers, is a modern day interpretation of Homer’s ancient epic the Odyssey. The opening credits of the movie quote the invocation of the Muse from the first lines of the epic: “Oh Muse sing in me, and through me tell the story of the man skilled in all the ways of contending, A wanderer, harried for years on end”. The film follows Ulysses Everett McGill (portrayed by George Clooney), a depression era Odysseus, and his men Delmar O’Donnell (Tim Nelson), and Pete Hogwallop (John Turturro). The three men are escaped convicts, running from the law through the Deep South in an effort to reach home and split a (truly non-existent) treasure. The leader of their group, Ulysses Everett McGill (from here on referred to as Everett), is a smooth talking self-professed lawyer with extreme egotistical issues. Pride is a theme in both the movie as well as the original epic. In both the Odyssey and O Brother, Where Art Thou his pride is the source of many dilemmas. The visual symbol of this pride throughout the movie is Everett’s Dapper Dan pomade.
The character of Everett has many Odyssean qualities: his cunning, his intelligence, his mastery of words, and, most notably, his stubborn pride. Odysseus’ downfall in the Odyssey is his overwhelming need to be remembered in name and deed. As a hero this is his tragic flaw. By the time he is introduced in the epic he has already been wandering for many years. He then narrates how he ended up in such a sad state, unable to reach his home in Ithaca. It all started with his encounter with the Cyclops, Polyphemus, on his way home from the Trojan War. Polyphemus is the son of Poseidon, the god of the seas. He entraps Odysseus and his men ...


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...ett’s prayer- it is questionable whether or not either of the two heroes have truly changed their ways. But, as Everett says in his concluding lines, “All is well, that ends well” and both men are able to achieve their goals. Odysseus is able to reach his home and Everett is pardoned and reunited with his wife and daughters.



Works Cited

Fagles, Robert. "Book Nine: In The One-Eyed Giants Cave." The Odyssey. New York, New York: Penguin Group, 1996. . Print.

O brother, where art thou?. Dir. Joel and Ethan Coen. Touchstone Home Video, 2001

"O Brother, Where Art Thou?." IMDb. IMDb.com, n.d. Web. 1 May 2014. .


Scott, Gabriel. "Analyzing the Coen’s O Brother! Where Art Thou? to Homer’s The Odyssey.”. N.p., 1 Feb. 2011. Web. 27 Apr. 2014. .

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