Essay Example on Comparing and Contrasting Odyssey and Forrest Gump

Published: 2023-01-03
Essay Example on Comparing and Contrasting Odyssey and Forrest Gump
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Character analysis American literature Odyssey Homer World literature
Pages: 8
Wordcount: 2024 words
17 min read

Stories are defined based on various elements they present, and some of these aspects are similar while others show differences. Concepts such as betrayal, love, abandonment, and reunion among others make the stories more interesting. However, the concepts play a crucial role in identifying stories or films in terms of similarities and differences. Odysseus/ Penelope and Jenny/ Forrest Gump are the two stories involving different characters that make practical use of these elements to show similarities and differences in which the directors present their stories. Odysseus and Penelope is a short story about the two characters that are lovebirds. Their love undergoes significant challenges separating sometime before reuniting. Forrest Gump is a film that shows the Jenny and Forrest as the main characters that are also lovebirds. Their relationship faces challenges which they strive to solve, but their end to these issues marks the death of Jenny. Thus, these two storylines show significant similarities though differences emerge between multiple lines of the story. The current paper aims at examining the similarities and contrast of Odysseus/ Penelope and Jenny/ Forrest Gump.

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Various similarities emerge when comparing Odysseus/ Penelope and Jenny/ Forrest Gump. The similarities are aligned with the themes that are developed from the stories, the characters in both stories, and the events as they occur. In each of the tales, the story surrounds the family with three members. In Odysseus/ Penelope, the family involved in the story is composed of Odysseus, Penelope and their only son Telemachus (Atwood, 2010). When Odysseus, the king of Ithaca leaves the palace for the war, Telemachus his only son and Penelope, his wife is left behind. His family lives in worry that the king might have died in the war though they have hope that one day they would see him alive again. For over twenty years, the three members of Odysseus family do not see one another until after the war ends and the family members reunite again. The similar story rotates around the family members in Jenny/ Forrest Gump where Jenny and Forrest met each other and perceived as lovers. Though the two never lived together for an extended period, they had a child with them called Forrest Gump (Zemeckis et al, 1994). The two got separated from each other when Forest was sent to Vietnam for an operation, and they also reunite when he comes back. Jenny dies shortly of unknown virus one year when they start living together. Thus, it is evident that the two stories involve three family members each with the father, mother and the son. It also emerges that the family members do not live together throughout. The commonest thing is that it is the father who leaves the mother and the child. The two fathers in the stories are separated by the war which they go to fight. For example, Odysseus leaves his wife and son, Penelope and Telemachus to go and fight which is the similar case when Forest is sent to Vietnam to fight to leave his wife and son, Jenny and Forrest Gump on their own.

Love and affection dominate the two stories where two characters perceived as the main players are seen making love to each other. In the myth of Penelope and Odysseus, the two main characters Odysseus and Penelope are the lovers who are married to each other and had a son. Despite the distance and separation, the love they have for each other remains intact as they hope that one day they will be together again. The strength of their lover is proved when Odysseus finds his way home to meet his wife Penelope in Ithaca (Atwood, 2010). It happens again, and after their meeting, they embrace their love again. It is a similar case in Forest Gump as the story introduces Jenny and Forest who first meet in school and become great friends. However, their love does not show up until sometimes later when Forrest returns from the war, reunites with Jenny when they make love, and Forrest Gump is born (Zemeckis et al, 1994). Their final stage of love is when they meet for the last time, a year before Jenny dies as they were living together as lovers. Thus, it is evident that love is one dominant thing that dominates the stories with lovers showing affectionate for each other. The distance makes them fantasize and long to meet the love of their lives.

At some point, in both stories, characters that are part of the family get separated from one another before uniting again. The most common thing is that their reunion comes after very many years of separation. For example, Odysseus goes away from his wife and son when the son is still a young boy but comes back later to meet them after twenty years as the son has grown to become old enough (Atwood, 2010). Twenty years is considered such a very long time, and it gives a lot of space to change many things within the family. Forrest also on his part does not stay with the mother of his son for a long period as he spends much of the time as an army officer fighting in the war. Thus, across the two stories, it is evident that there is not continued of the family staying together rather at one point or the other, they stay far from each other before meeting again. Even as this separation occurs, both character especially the female, Penelope and Jenny who are also the wives of Odysseus and Forrest develop a feeling of betrayal (Zemeckis et al, 1994). They find it not fine that their men leave families and go out for many years. Due to having this feeling of betrayal, both Penelope and Jenny though, in different stories find it difficult to allow their men into their lives.

More similarities are emerging from the books from the point of characters, which they are, their actions, and behaviour. Both Odysseus from the Odyssey and Forrest from Forrest Gump have many things in common. The two characters both have some strong physical abilities that make them emerge victorious in their undertakings especially during the time of war. The same abilities extend to having these characters when over their family again after a long time of staying. The best examples of the strong physical capabilities of both Odysseus and Forrest can be extracted from the two stories, Odyssey and Forrest Gump. Citing example, Odysseus goes out into the war and stays there for as long as twenty years. At some time even the family loses hope thinking that Odysseus might have died in the war. However, Odysseus remains alive throughout because of his physical abilities he has making him survive (Atwood, 2010). An example is when Odysseus returns home and find that suitors wanted to replace him by marrying his wife Penelope, he uses the arrow to kill the suitors as he occupies the palace again taking back his wife. The similar thing happens to Forrest whose strong physical ability makes him survive in the war in Vietnam when others like Bubba are killed after their platoon is ambushed when on patrol during their routine operations (Zemeckis et al, 1994). He has a lot of speed when it comes to running, and his fastness allows him to save many of his colleagues in many instances. Lieutenant, Dan Taylor is among the several wounded platoon-mates that Forrest saves.

Both Odysseus and Forrest fought in wars as soldiers, and this is indicated in two stories. Even though they go out into the wars, the two comes out alive and joins the family. For example, Odysseus sails into the Island to fight in the Trojan War as he leaves behind the family (Atwood, 2010). On the other hand, Forrest is sent out as the soldier to carry out the operation in Vietnam. Upon fighting in the war, the two characters can be described as warriors who survive throughout the war. Besides being soldiers, both Odysseus and Forrest are wealthy people with Odysseus being the king of Ithaca while Forrest is a millionaire who owns a shrimping boat. The two characters, Odysseus and Forest also get opportunities to travel and explore many locations such as Vietnam and Trojan Island (Zemeckis et al, 1994). Both can be seen as people with a lot of experience not just in fighting in the war but knowing many places. And as severally mentioned in the paper, in most of their outgoings, they stay for over twenty years but later return home. They also show a lot of loyalty to their families especially their wives despite the temptations they are taken through. For example, Odysseus maintains one lover, Penelope while Forrest maintains his wife, Jenny, too. Thus, these characters share a lot of things in common.

On the other hand, there are differences in Odyssey and Forrest Gump about the characters Odysseus/ Penelope and Jenny/ Forrest Gump. In Odyssey, Odysseus is a well-known character for his logic that use tactics to survive on various occasions he finds challenges. He is a deceiver who will use tricks to get through the situation. For example, before he goes out into war, he deceives his wife that he would be back soon in a short while but goes and stays for more than twenty years. Also when he returns home after the war, he finds ways of getting back to the palace that has been taken over by enemies as new lords. He first does not reveal his identity to his wife, and he searches for a strategic position before identifying himself since he knew his wife would be mad at him. He manages to drive enemies from the palace and get back his wife. It is a different thing for Forrest who lacks normal intelligence though he shows some great compassion and kindness (Zemeckis et al, 1994). Forrest's lack of intelligence makes him fail to convince and win the heart of Jenny

Unlike Odysseus, Forrest is a compassionate and kind person whose help to others is depicted in the movie. For example, Forrest does not go to war on his own but is sent as a soldier meaning he was compassionate about king human life as he knew in war one has to kill. He is also compassionate about his colleagues who are hurt during the war as he helps them to survive including Lieutenant, Dan Taylor. His kindness comes when he shares part of the profit he makes from shrimping boat with the family of Bubba who had introduced him to the business (Zemeckis et al, 1994). This does not happen to Odysseus who lacks compassion for others and kindness especially his enemies. A vivid example is when Odysseus returns in Ithaca Island and finds the new lords have invested the palace, with no mercy, he takes the arrow and kills them and chance others (Atwood, 2010).

Differences can also be seen in the characters of Penelope and Jenny in terms of their actions and behavior. The two women show different levels of love for their husbands, commitment to the family, and fidelity. For example, Penelope maintains fidelity to their relationship and does not fall into the temptations of suitors who persuade her to marry them. She tricks them until his husband comes back (Atwood, 2010). She also remains committed to the family hoping that they shall one day unite again. Her love for her husband remains strong enough to continue living as a family. Differently, Jenny does most of the things contrary as she does not show true love to Forrest to the extent of rejecting him one time when he proposed to her. She does not seem committed to family and lives a hippie lifestyle (Zemeckis et al, 1994). She maintains her infidelity to the relationship until she gets infected with a sexually transmitted disease. This condition makes her die one year after their marriage.

Therefore, the two stories, the Odyssey and Forrest Gump portray different characters that make the storylines appear similar and different at some level. The similarities and differences emerging from the stories can be described based on the themes presented about the characters and their actions, behaviours, and various events.

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