2001 A Metaphorical Odyssey Essay Research Paper

2001: A Metaphorical Odyssey Essay, Research Paper

2001: A Metaphorical Odyssey

Myths are created for the purpose of conveying a message with an

interesting medium with which to do so. Many cultures use myths to teach their

young about the past. Through time, however, these myths become impractical due

to discovery. This is when a new myth must be introduced to take the place of

the obsolete one. Stanley Kubrick shaped 2001: A Space Odyssey as a new myth to

crack the archaic view of space, by using a hero, a dilemma, and a new

revelation to fuel his cause.

Every myth has a character that breaks the mold of the ordinary. In

Homer’s The Odyssey, Odysseus is the character that broke the mold of the other

mortals. He displayed character traits that superseded those of his crew mates.

Much in the same fashion, Bowman breaks the mold of the astronauts aboard the

Discovery. He and Poole are share duties aboard the Discovery, but he

demonstrates a higher level of thinking by sensing and interpreting what is

happening before him. He is the one that realizes exactly what HAL is doing,

and he puts a stop to it. He sees problems, analyzes them, and then proceeds to

diffuse the cause in the most efficient manner possible. He uses his character

traits of intelligence, persistence, and adroitness to overcome the dilemmas put

in front of him. By using his intelligence, he realizes that HAL has figured

him out, and he must find a way to get back into the discovery in order to

survive. In using persistence, Bowman does not give up when it seems that HAL

has won the battle. Instead he takes the rough way in, and he then disables HAL.

Bowman shows how adroit he is with dilemmas by handling the entire HAL

situation with calm and intelligence.

While on the mission, Bowman is faced with many dilemmas. The first

dilemma, is that he is in the dark about the purpose of the mission. He has

only been supplied with the vital information that he will need to perform

routine operations until the site of the mission is reached. HAL is responsible

for informing him when the place has been reached and time is right to complete

the mission. He decides that he must do what he can without actually knowing

the exact purpose of the mission. The next dilemma is that HAL has been

reacting to his instincts in a negative manner. He realizes that Bowman and

Poole are having doubts about the mission. Bowman decides that he must hide his

emotions and plans from HAL in order to proceed successfully. HAL, on the other

hand, figures out that Bowman and Poole are planning to unplug him by reading

their lips while they are conversing in the pod, and finds a way to get them

where he can control them. He fakes a failure in the communications satellite

dish, and Poole goes out to repair it, never to return. After Poole is disposed

of, Bowman finally realizes that HAL has turned on him. This is the ultimate

dilemma that Bowman must face. He is locked out of the Discovery, and he must

find a way to get back in and disable HAL before he dies, and the mission is

unsalvageable. He finally succeeds in re-entering the Discovery and disabling

HAL as the ship nears Jupiter and the pre-recorded message plays on the video

screen. His decision to unplug HAL and run the mission solo is the deciding

factor in the new revelation that he encounters.

With the approaching of the climax of the movie, Bowman realizes that

the mission was far beyond the comprehension of any human being. He realizes

why the mission had been kept confidential even to him, as a pre-recorded

message gives him a debriefing of the purpose of the mission. The ever present

question of whether or not there are other intelligent beings in the universe is

answered as Bowman enters the stargate. As he descends into the stargate, the

many colors and patterns show that he is proceeding into a realm that is a

paradox of powers. When Bowman sees that he is being protected from forces

that are far beyond the control of any mortal, he knows that these other beings

are far superior to humans. With his experiences, the enlightened Bowman

returns to earth realizing that society dwindling.

Using Bowman as a hero that faces dilemmas to reach the target moment,

Stanley Kubrick uses 2001: A Space Odyssey as a new myth to replace the old

myths about space. This redefined what people thought about space. This myth

has carried over into the 20th century, and still will proceed into the 21st

century. It shows how new myths can replace old myths and shatter the very

foundation the human mentality. For when an archaic belief is suddenly replaced

with a new one, it is often a reaction to wonder why the old one was wrong.

This often leads to further exploration and discovery in that area. As

discovery progresses, the myths change concurrently. This also exemplifies how

important myths are to a culture or race of beings. Without myths, there would

be no efficient way of communicating the beliefs and philosophies of the time.


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