The Odyssey Film Analysis

1220 Words5 Pages
In 2001 the Coen brothers decided to create a film that would pay homage and, in some respect, satirize Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey. Instead of copying the story scene for scene they decided to change the setting, story and characters, essentially creating a more relatable tale for modern day viewers. The story is set in the south during the Great Depression and follows the main character Ulysses Everett McGill, and his two sidekicks Pete Hogwallop and Delmar O’Donnel. The men escape a work camp for prisoners in order to find a “treasure” which is just Everett’s wife. The Coen brothers are skilled storytellers so their allusions are subtle and extremely clever. Even those who are familiar with The Odyssey have trouble figuring out what certain scenes in O Brother Where Art Thou represent. This is probably because in an interview, the Coen brothers both admitted to having never read the epic poem, and said they chose to do the film because…show more content…
They took a story and were able to make it their own, adding comedy and a thick southern mood to create a film that the viewer could watch without having to read the book. If I had never read The Odyssey I would still enjoy the film because it’s a great story. But creating allusions to an epic poem this makes the viewer think and second guess every assumption they made. My last and favorite reference the film makes to the poem is the Soggy Bottom Boys hit song “I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow”. This is a great quote from the poem when Odyessus is talking to Penelope disguised as a beggar, and he says, “For I am a man of many sorrows”. This points to the Coen brothers ability to incorporate hundreds of allusions into a movie. Although this paper discusses many different examples of how this is an adaption, there are dozens of references that probably went directly over my head and would require multiple viewings to
Open Document