The poem “The Odyssey” details the story of a man named Odysseus who went through many trials and tribulations while trying to get home to his family. In the past, many stories, movies, and other works of literature have based its plot around the story: “The Odyssey”. However, there is one movie that stands out as unique and its title is “O Brother Where Art Thou”. The producers, Joel and Ethan Coen, did a wonderful job in making actor Ulysses Everett McGill represent Odysseus.
Everett from “O Brother Where Art Thou” and Odysseus from Homer’s “The Odyssey” are very similar in many ways, but contrast in multiple qualities and characteristics as well. In “O Brother Where Art Thou”, the main character, Everett is on a voyage trying to return home to his family. Everett tries to escape Parchman Farm after he hears that his wife was about to remarry a suitor named Vernon T. Waldrip in two days. He tricks his “Chain Gang” into believing that they were going after treasure; clearly demonstrating the love, loyalty, and courage that he has for his wife.
As a result of this event, he caused the authorities to go on a Louisiana wide man hunt for Everett while creating a new relationship between himself and two other members of the “Chain Gang”. Like Everett, Odysseus “has been wandering for ten years on the sea, to find his family;” however, little did he know his absence allowed suitors to besiege his wife with proposals. For this reason, Odysseus laid siege on the suitors on his island. In this example, the situation that Everett and Odysseus were in is very similar.
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They both have to make a long journey to get back to their families and return to their original life style. Through the actions that Everett performs, one can see the similarities between himself and Odysseus. In “O Brother Where Art Thou? ”, Everett bombards a Ku Klux Klan meeting to save his friend Tommy from being lynched due to his skin color showing Everett’s willingness to sacrifice his own life, as well as Pete’s and Delmar’s, to save Tommy’s. In addition, they end up incinerating some of the Klansmen (including Bid Dan) with a large burning cross by snipping the wires that supported it.
In “The Odyssey” Odysseus is in a similar situation like Everett but the person he is trying to save is his wife, Penelope by “[drawing] his fist [in the shape of] the cruel head of an arrow… Odysseus hit him under the chin…” which shows the courage that Odysseus had to shoot the arrow that saved his wife (xxii 7-14). Analyzing the two examples, one can see that Odysseus and Everett were willing to perform courageous acts to protect the people whom they love.
Even though there are many similarities between Everett and Odysseus, there is a major difference between the two; their view on faith. In “O Brother Where Art Thou” Tommy informs the “Chain Gang” that he sold his soul to the devil to learn how to play guitar better. Further, Everett tells Tommy that Pete and Delmar had just been baptized and he’s the only one who is unaffiliated with any type of religious figure. This shows that Everett believes in no religion, no God, and no miracles.
In contrast to Everett, Odysseus believes in the Gods by saying “Now watch me hit a target that no man has hit before, if I can make this shot. Help me Apollo” showing his strong belief that he had, had in the God Apollo (xxii 4-6). For this reason Apollo granted him a straight shot on the suitor. In any case, their faith sets the two men apart from one another. In many ways the two men’s bravery brought them to victory and also proves the similarities between the two; however, certain beliefs such as religion causes the men to differ.
Everett is a good representation of Odysseus, but there are fatal flaws between the two which cause them to be starkly different. Whether or not, one analyzes the similarities which show common strengths, or the conflict of differing religions, which make each man respectively stronger, one can analyze that all men are created different. No one man is the same as his neighbor and that makes the world to accept all races, genders, and ideology.
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