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The Hero's Journey: The Odyssey and Oh Brother Where Art Tho

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Gabrielle Hovis

on 5 February 2014

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Transcript of The Hero's Journey: The Odyssey and Oh Brother Where Art Tho

Supernatural Aid
Pete, Delmer, and Everett receive supernatural aid in this scene at the beginning of
Oh Brother Where Art Thou,
when they are warned of the trouble ahead by the blind prophet depicted in the clip.
Odysseus is given aid from the goddess Athena throughout the epic, and is saved from many tight spots with the help of Athena's sagacity and wit.
Crossing the First Threshold
Everett crosses the first threshold when him, Pete, and Delmer reach the railroad tracks. This is when the three, "cross into the field of adventure", so to speak.
The Odyssey
, as this clip demonstrates, reflects this step when Odysseus leaves for the Trojan War, unaware that he wont return home for nearly 20 years.
Belly of the Whale
Everett undergoes change when the trio are betrayed by Pete's cousin for the bounty money, and trapped in a burning barn by the Sheriff (below). Everett is finally separated from his accustomed world in this scene.
This step is evident in the Odyssey when Odysseus begins on his journey home from the Trojan War, when he is thrown off course and enters into an unfamiliar world of monsters.
The Road of Trials
Everett's trials include saving Tommy from the KKK (below), facing his wife's fiance Vernon, being cheated by Daniel "Big Dan" Teague (reference to the Cyclops), and his final encounter with the Sheriff.
Some of Odysseus' trials were the Lotus Eaters, the Battle of the Suitors, in which he defeats his wife's numerous suitors, and the Cyclops.
The Hero's Journey:
The Odyssey
and
Oh Brother Where Art Thou

The film
Oh Brother Where Art Thou
and the ancient Greek epic
The Odyssey
both reflect major stages in The Hero's Journey through the journey of the Ulysses Everett, the hero in the film, and Odysseus, the protagonist of
The Odyssey
.
What?
Temptation
Parallels can be made between
Oh Brother Where Art Thou
and
The Odyssey
through the temptation stage in the Hero's Journey, as Odysseus and Everett both face the Sirens, monsters that lure sailors to their death with their entrancing music in the Odyssey, who are depicted in the film as women bathing in the river(below).
Atonement with the Father
The stage of Apostasis is evident when Everett prays to God before being hanged, and insists that he will change, essentially promising to die to his past life .
In
The Odyssey
, this stage is depicted when Odysseus travels to the Underworld, and sees the ghost of his mother, who has died since he left home, as well as the ghosts of his dead men.
Apostasis
Everett is forced to confront the Sheriff, who holds the power of his life or death, as the Sheriff is going to hang Everett, demonstrating this stage of atonement.
Odysseus confronts Tiresias, a blind prophet, in the Underworld. Tiresias holds the ultimate power in Odysseus' life because of the knowledge he possesses about the outcome of the protagonist's journey.
Magic Flight
Everett's magic flight occurs when the men escape the noose with Everett's supposed wedding ring when the river floods.
As Odysseus has no necessary "boon" on his journey home, his magic flight can be interpreted as his return to Ithaca on the ship gifted to him by the Phoenicians, when he is finally allowed to reach his home.

Odysseus in the Underworld

Odysseus and Tiresias
The Trojan Horse
Full transcript