O Brother Where Art Thou?

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by ceilidhruth
Last updated 5 years ago

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O Brother Where Art Thou?

O Brother Where Art Thou?

O Brother Where Art Thou? is chock full of allusions to Homer's Odyssey, but one that stood out the most was the parallel between "Big Dan" Teague and Polyphemus, the Cyclops. There are a remarkable number of similarities between the encounters with Big Dan and Odysseus' tale of his defeat of Polyphemus, including killing one of the crew (so to speak), being tricked by blending into a crowd, and the close proximity of eyes and pointy sticks. Oh, and only having one eye. It is an effective literary allusion - anyone familiar with the tale of Odysseus and the Cyclops will recognize the similarities.





Literary Allusion

Ulysses Everett McGill, the main protagonist of O Brother Where Art Thou? showed a lot of hubris throughout the movie. He was arrogant and overconfident in his abilities, and more often that not this got the three escapees into difficult situations. Everett's hubris has a tendency to keep the plot of the movie moving and interesting.

O Brother Where Art Thou? has a montage set to 'I'll Fly Away' in about the middle of the movie. The montage allows for an impression of time passing and of travel without boring the audience with all the details. The song, I'll Fly Away, also contributes, as the three men are flying away, so to speak, from their prison life. Overall, it is a good way to shorten and simplify some of the duller parts of the storyline.

The atmosphere ofO Brother Where Art Thou?is one of hopeful hopelessness,which kind of characterizesthe thirties, when the movieis set. This atmosphere isset through the use of dusty, muted colours throughout the film, through the music that is played and sung (both as sound track and within the storyline), and through the costume of the characters. The scene-setting is quite effective, creating a strong sense that one is back in the Dirty Thirties.

In O Brother Where Art Thou?, music is used as a potent symbol of the journey the three escapees make. A number of the songs used in the movie have lyrics that reflect a sense of longing to be somewhere other than where one is. This is representative of Everett, Pete, and Delmar's escape from the chain gang and journey back home. It makes a very effective symbol, bringing home the idea of journeying and searching for something, as well as helping clarify what is occurring in the movie.


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