Monday, November 4, 2013

Myth or Monster Monday: The Tragic Stupidity of Icarus

It's Monday again. Dammit. But, I have another myth for you! This is one of my all-time favorites. The story of Icarus.


Artist: elmohead
Daedalus, a brilliant craftsman, was hired by Minos, the King of Crete, the complete the Labyrinth to contain the Minotaur. But when Theseus, whom the king despised, came to slay the monster, Daedalus assisted him by giving the King's daughter, Ariadne, a ball of string to pass along to the hero. As a result of this assistance, Theseus was able to kill the Minotaur, and then fled Crete with Ariadne. Naturally, King Minos wasn't particularly amused by this, so he punished Daedalus by imprisoning him and his son, Icarus, in the Labyrinth.
Daedalus knew that, even if they escaped their prison, there was no way they would be able to flee the island, as King Minos controlled all sea and land routes, and wasn't about to be fooled a second time. So Daedalus constructed two pairs of wings for himself and Icarus. Being that they were prisoners, there wasn't a plethora of construction materials to choose from, so the wings were made from wax and feathers.

Before leaving Crete, Daedalus warned Icarus not to fly too close to land or sea, as doing so would destroy the wings. Icarus agreed to follow the path his father took, but once he was up in the air, he was overcome with happiness of flying, and soared across the sky in glee. Unfortunately, Icarus didn't pay attention to where he flew, and came too close to the sun.

The wax of his wings melted instantly and the feathers burned. Poor Icarus tried to keep flapping, but to no avail. He plummeted from the sky into the sea, where he drowned. In remembrance of Icarus and his ill advised flight, the area where he drowned is now known as the Icarian Sea.

To me, one of the most interestings part of this myth isn't the story itself, but rather how popular it is. Virtually everyone has heard the cautionary tale of Icarus, and yet, the myth itself was insignificant. So insignificant in fact, that it was often allude to in various literary pieces to come from Greece, but rarely recorded in full until Ovid.

That said, I absolutely love the story of Icarus. When I heard it as a kid, I loathed Icarus because he was so foolish with his wings when I didn't have any at all! Now that I'm a bit older, I think it's such a simple and tragic story. To go from being on top of the world (literally and emotionally) to your death in such a short amount of time just because you're so overcome with joy you forget yourself? Well, that has to suck.

Poor Icarus.

I don't know if Jason Walker set out to capture that emotional aspect of the myth in his song, Down, but I think he did an excellent job of doing just that. I absolutely love this song. Listen below.

 

 
What do you guys think about Icarus? Tragedy or stupidity?

xoxo,
Ayden


FALLThe Ragnarök Prophesies: Book Two is now available in ebook and print at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and KOBO. FADE - The Ragnarök Prophesies: Book Two is available at: Amazon US | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Books-a-Million

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