Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

"O Brother Where Art Thou?" : If. XXVI according to the Brothers Coen

Mary Watt


This essay challenges the traditional critical interpretation of the Coen Brothers’ 2001 film “O Brother Where Art Thou” by proposing that the film is not simply a retelling of the Odyssey but rather that it looks not to the Homeric narrative but rather to Dante’s reinvention of the Greek hero Odysseus / Ulysses for its inspiration. In support of this argument the essay highlights a number of narrative cues that point us to Inferno 26, where Ulysses is punished as a fraudulent counselor. The fact that the film’s protagonist, Ulysses Everett McGill was convicted of impersonating a lawyer and lied to his “brothers” Delmar and Pete to induce them to escape with him, are but two such indicators examined in this study. But the essay also looks at the role that the soundtrack plays in alerting the reader to a highly Dantesque hermeneutic strategy, as well as the film’s Dantesque awareness of the role of ingegno in creating fiction, or lies that look like truth.

Paraules clau

Dante; Comedy; Brothers Coen.

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