O Brother, Where Art Thou?: Modern Adaptation of Homer's Odyssey Essay

O Brother, Where Art Thou?: Modern Adaptation of Homer's Odyssey Essay

Length: 1253 words (3.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The film O Brother, Where Art Thou? is a reinterpretation of the epic poem The Odyssey. The Coen brothers, writers and directors of the film, did not over analyze their representation. “It just sort of occurred to us after we’d gotten into it somewhat that it was a story about someone going home, and sort of episodic in nature, and it kind of evolved into that,” says Joel Coen in Blood Siblings, “It’s very loosely and very sort of unseriously based on The Odyssey” (Woods 32). O Brother, Where Art Thou? contains ideas from The Odyssey for the sake of modernization and entertainment of an audience that comprehends the allusions to the epic. The Coen brothers utilize elements of Homer’s The Odyssey to improve and to give direction to O Brother, Where Art Thou?, a reinterpretation which was made simply to show that an epic-adventure such as The Odyssey could be modernized to apply to modern times.
The film begins with a summoning of the Muse taken from Homer’s summons in The Odyssey. The writers pray to a higher power to tell them the story “of that man skilled in all the ways of contending…A wanderer, harried for years on end” (O Brother, Where Art Thou?). This is a direct and purposeful quote from Robert Fitzgerald’s 1961 translation of The Odyssey. By opening O Brother, Where Art Thou? with the same invocation of the Muse as Homer, the Coens creates a direct correlation between the two works early on. This tells the audience that they should expect the direction of the plot to mimic that of The Odyssey.
The main characters of each work are automatically associated with each other by their names, but they also share similar personalities and characteristics. Odysseus is a wily hero of the Trojan War who uses his deceptive...

... middle of paper ...

...ed elements of the epic poem to improve and give direction to their work.

Works Cited

Burke, Daniel. "RNS Feature: "The Coen Brothers' Complicated Gospel"" Religion News Service. 28 Sept. 2009. Web. 01 Mar. 2010. .
Homer. The Odyssey: Fitzgerald Translation. Trans. Robert Fitzgerald. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998. Print.
Jase. "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" The Lamia Myth. 3 Jan. 2010. Web. 3 Mar. 2010. .
O Brother, Where Art Thou? Dir. Joel Coen and Ethan Coen. Perf. George Clooney, Tim Blake Nelson and John Turturro. Studio Canal, Working Title Films, 2000. DVD.
Woods, Paul A., ed. Blood Siblings: The Cinema of Joel Coen and Ethan Coen. Grand Rapids: Plexus, 2000. Print.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay about Analysis of Baz Luhmann's Adaptation of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

- “Take him and cut him out in little stars, And he will make the face of heaven so fine That all the world will be in love with night” (3.2 22-24) This is an essay exploring Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of Romeo and Juliet to examine how the effect of any modernisation, or updating, may impact on Shakespeare’s story. It will also consider the acting style and whether, how the verse is spoken and how actors engage with emotions through use of the text has any difference to the original play. The essay will also contemplate the effect of any elements of visual storytelling and the relevance/appropriateness of all of the above and whether it has any effect on Shakespeare’s text....   [tags: Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation, samson ]

Strong Essays
1367 words (3.9 pages)

Essay on O Brother, Where Art Thou, by Ethan and Joel Coen

- Written by Ethan and Joel Coen and released on DVD by Touchstone Pictures and Universal Pictures in 2001, O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU. is supposed to be the first professional film in history to be digitally enhanced, in its entirety. The movie is a loose adaptation of the epic poem The Odyssey in which three escaped convicts; Everett Ulysses McGill (George Clooney,) and his two partners Delmar (Tim Blake Nelson) and Pete (John Turturro) experience the adventures of “Ulysses” (Homer) in varying ways....   [tags: Film Analysis, Digital Modification]

Strong Essays
1410 words (4 pages)

Essay on `` O Brother, Where Art Thou ``

- “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” includes a young, not Gary Busey, George Clooney at his finest playing, Ulysses Everett McGill. Ulysses is a fun character with a conman personality leading his crew to the treasure of a life time. The story takes place during the time of the great depression and Ulysses and his two fellow convicts escape from prison at the start of their journey. Throughout the movie, the three main characters go on an adventure to “secure the treasure”, with Ulysses depicted as their leader....   [tags: Odyssey, Odysseus, O Brother, Where Art Thou?]

Strong Essays
1103 words (3.2 pages)

O Brother, Where Art Thou? - From Greek Classic to American Original Essay

- O Brother, Where Art Thou. - From Greek Classic to American Original In the winter of 2001, American audiences initially paid little attention to Joel and Ethan Coen's Depression era, jail-break, musical "buddy" comedy O Brother, Where Art Thou. The film's reputation lingered, however, and over the next seven months O Brother eventually grossed a significant $45.5 million (imdb.com). Loosely adapted from Homer’s The Odyssey, the film focuses on Ulysses Everett McGill’s (George Clooney’s) journey from the jailhouse back to both his home in Ithaca, Mississippi, and to his wife Penny (Holly Hunter)....   [tags: O Brother Where Art Thou? Essays]

Strong Essays
3138 words (9 pages)

Modern Art And Modern Culture Essay

- Abstract Painting and design are significant parts of art, although both belong to different categories, they have close relation. In such aspects as creation concept, techniques, painting and design have interaction and serve each other. Not simply refers to a variety of art and modern art genre, it is a reflection of a complex social ideological trend, profoundly affected the western social ideology, but also affect other areas. Modern art provides a rich and more formal language for graphic design, promoted the expression of graphic design and the formation of new style, as well as provides a rich nutrition for modern design....   [tags: Cubism, Collage, Modern art, Georges Braque]

Strong Essays
1224 words (3.5 pages)

Country Music in O Brother, Where Art Thou? Essay

- Country Music in O Brother, Where Art Thou. Abstract: This essay explores the way white trash identity is performed through country music. In particular, the focus is on the way the film O Brother, Where Art Thou. (Joel Coen, 2001) uses a soundtrack of 'old-timey' country music from the 1920s and 30s to aurally assist the film's white trash aesthetic. Various cultural critics (Barbara Ching) and music historians (Richard Peterson) have already documented the way country music is white trash music....   [tags: White Trash Brother Art Thou Essays]

Strong Essays
3571 words (10.2 pages)

The Odyssey in Oh Brother, Where Art Thou Essay

- The Odyssey in Oh Brother, Where Art Thou The movie O Brother, Where Art Thou is a wonderful movie that was directed by the Coen brothers. The movie features a cast of talented actors, the movie has also won several awards. The book The Odyssey is a timeless classic and it was written by the mysterious bard Homer. The book tells the tale of our hero Odysseus as he attempts to make it home to his wife. There are many ways to relate the movie plot and characters, to Odysseus's journey in The Odyssey....   [tags: Film Movie O Brother, Where Art Thou]

Strong Essays
858 words (2.5 pages)

The Film "O brother, where art thou?" Essay

- The Film "O brother, where art thou?" The film O brother, where art thou. is set in the Great Depression of the 1930’s and emphasizes the struggle between the upper and lower classes by using a variety of cinematic devices. Through the use of these cinematic devices and comedic relief the realities of the Depression are viewed without creating a stark, melancholy, documentary-styled film. Examples in this film of these cinematic devices used to show these realities include: bleak colors, contrasting of light and dark colors, long shots, high-angle shots, and spherical camera lenses....   [tags: Film Movies Movie Art Thou Essays]

Strong Essays
1035 words (3 pages)

Factors That Have Influenced The Modern Art Movement Essays

- Viollet-le-Duc became a very important figure and through his designs and theories iron became associated with the reform of the decorative arts and his influence can probably be most clearly seen in some of the architecture of the Art Nouveau movement. The main principles Viollet bestowed on the Art Nouveau movement were the spatial organization of the building according to function rather than rules of symmetry and proportion, the importance of materials as a generator for form and also the concept of an organic form.12 These ideals of form following function are not only important to the Art Nouveau movement but also to the Modern Movement as well, demonstrated in the work of Le...   [tags: Modern Art]

Strong Essays
866 words (2.5 pages)

Essay about Modern Art: An Art of Expression and Freedom

- I. Introduction Wherever man lives there is art, because art is anything made or done by man that affects or moves us so that we feel and see beauty. Man uses his imagination to invent a unique beauty. The artist's feelings and inspiration affects on how he will express his art. Through the major development of technologies and social changes that have taken place in the 19th century, Modern art flourished during this period and caused a lot movements of modern art to form, some of these famous movement are cubism, abstract expressionism, pop art, and surreal art....   [tags: Modern Art Artists Dance Theatre Essays]

Free Essays
3769 words (10.8 pages)