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The odyssey

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 793 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Which film does a more effective job in adapting Homer’s The Odyssey: Ridley Scott’s Gladiator or Barry Levinson’s The Natural. I believe that both films do an effective job of adapting Homer’s epic poem. However, in my opinion, The Natural does a better job of this. The Natural achieves a more effective level than Scott’s film in adapting The Odyssey because Levinson’s cinematic adventure has more similarities in the characters, plot structure, and resolution.

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The characters in Levinson’s motion picture are very similar to the characters in The Odyssey. Roy Hobbes, the main character of the movie, compares very well with Odysseus, the main character in Homer’s epic poem. Odysseus is a great Trojan War hero and Roy Hobbes is a great baseball player, which is similar to being a war hero because Hobbes is a hero to his baseball team in their war for the pennant. Both characters leave their home to achieve glory: Odysseus in the Trojan War and Hobbes in baseball. Odysseus leaves Ithaca, which is a small island, and Hobbes leaves his small farm. Both places are small and not vey well known. Odysseus and Hobbes both leave a woman at home with a child to take care of. However, Odysseus never met his child and Hobbes was unaware that he left his hometown girlfriend when she was pregnant with his son. Another similarity is that both of these protagonists are flawed. Odysseus dishonored the god, arguably because he has too much pride, which is hubris. Moreover, Hobbes also had too much pride. Having too much pride causes each character to go off course, literally and figuratively. Odysseus is blown of course traveling from one crazy island to the next. Whereas, Roy Hobbes gets shot, which causes him to quit baseball for a long time and travel from one job to the next. The two heroes even have similar enemies, for example Hobbes has Gus Sands who nearly kills him, and Odysseus has the Cyclops who nearly kills him; also both enemies only have one eye. Another similarity is the weapon of choice for both individuals; Odysseus has his bow, which is used to defeat the suitors after his wife, and Hobbes has Wonderboy, which is his baseball bat used to defeat opposing baseball teams. In Gladiator there is not one specific weapon that Maximus uses. Lastly, eventually both heroes return home and are humbled. Odysseus returns home to Ithaca, but as a beggar. And Hobbes returns to the farm to take care of his united family.

The plot structure of the movie is also very similar to Homer’s epic poem. Each story begins in a small place that is not very well known. The Natural begins on a farm and The Odyssey begins on a small island called Ithaca. Another similarity is that both of the main characters leave their home to become well known. However, even though they were both great, both protagonists have too much pride, which ends up causing both of them to go off course of their goal. However, Maximus in Gladiator did not have too much pride, but he was still sent off course. Odysseus’s goal was to return home, but because he did not honor the gods, the gods would not allow him to achieve his goal very easily. Hobbes’s goal was to set baseball records, but because of his pride he was literally shot down on his way to the top. Then both characters must put forth much more time and effort than originally planned to achieve their goal. Eventually Hobbes changes his goal to being with his family when he realizes that he left his hometown girlfriend home pregnant with his son; just like Odysseus left his new born son with his wife when he left home. In the end, both heroes wind up home and happy.

The resolutions of both protagonists are also very similar. Both eventually learn their lesson. Odysseus realizes that it is wrong to think that he is greater than or equal to the gods and not all the glory should go to him. Hobbes realizes that baseball is not just about break individual records, but the game is about the glory of the team. These are similar because the baseball team is equivalent to the team of Odysseus and the gods in the Trojan War. So the victory is not solely for the glory of the individual.

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In conclusion, The Natural does a more effective job of adapting to The Odyssey then Gladiator does. The Natural is an effective adaptation of The Odyssey because of its similarities in characters, plot structure, and resolution. There are many striking connections between Roy Hobbes and Odysseus. Also, the plot structure and resolution of The Natural is almost identical to that of Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey.


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