The Odyssey

Odysseus and Ulysses 10th Grade

Modern renditions of classics are notorious for misrepresenting the cherished old works they try to depict, but when they are successful they add modern twists and embellishments while still maintaining the timeless message. In O Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coen brothers honor Homer’s epic, the Odyssey, with an insightful adaptation. The directors artistically implant messages about honor and trust using symbolism and positioning in ways that mirror the format of the epic and create a worthwhile viewing experience for students trying to supplement their education.

Odysseus remains a timeless hero in society not only because of his journeys, but also his larger than life persona and the respect he commands from everyone he meets. Ulysses adopts this mindset in his travels, refusing to be defined as a person based on the situation he is in at any given moment. The symbolism frequent in O Brother, Where Art Thou? adds depth to Ulysses by emphasizing how his care about appearances affects his experiences and decisions. After escaping from jail, Ulysses, Pete, and Delmar are hungry, tired, and have no way of getting to the treasure. Ulysses stops at a store for a car part and some hair pomade, but refuses to accept any brand other...

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