The Odyssey

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Date Submitted: 09/23/2012 05:59 PM

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Michael Wright

Mrs. Coty

English 309

17 June 2010

The Similarities between Odyssey and O Brother, Where Art Thou?

After watching the film O Brother, Where Art Thou? and reading Homer’s Odyssey there are a lot of parody and strikingly similarities between the two, in both plot and character description. The film is a parody of the epic poem. A parody imitates a work of art, literature, or music for the purpose of making playful fun or a joke of the original work. A parody may take an ironic or cynical approach to the work it is imitating or may just be for comedic relief. Most times, a parody involves a serious work that has been changed to make it seem absurd by mocking or pointing out shortcomings in the original work. A parody is similar to and may also be referred to as burlesque, lampoon or a spoof. In fact, there was a direct reference in the line of text shown at the beginning of the film, “O Muse! Sing in me, and through me tell the story…” which is one translation to the first line of the Odyssey (O Brother). In addition to this, The Odyssey is the journey of Odysseus as he tries to return home from the war in Troy and the film O Brother, Where Art Thou? It’s the journey of Ulysses Everett McGill, as he escapes from the chain gang and makes his way to recover his buried loot in Mississippi. There are five parallels between Homer’s classic epic and “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” the blind black man on the railroad handcar, Penelope and Penny, the Cyclops encounter, the hounding sheriff, the mystical call of the Sirens, and the powers of the witch goddess Circe.

The blind black man on the railroad handcar tells of the future problems Ulysses and his crew will have along their journey, similar or parallel to Nestor, oldest Trojan War hero, his chariot represents the railroad handcar. However, the main representation of the blind black man on the railroad handcar is that of Teiresias who told Odysseus during his underworld visit of his trials and...