Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Flight of Icarus

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The Icarus myth is a timeless legend that exceeds all bounds. Timeless to history, it tells us of a father and son, who was over ambitious, who attempt to escape from the imprisonment of King Minos. Daedalus, a famous Greek mechanic, angered King Minos and was imprisoned. He tried to escape numerous times but all attempts failed with the exception of his first, in which he was recaptured. He said The King does not govern the sky so we shall escape that way. Daedalus created wings for he and his son, then went about making plans to escape. As they flew above the sea, Icarus, excited by the feeling of the wind, flapped his wings harder and went higher than he was suppose to go. The sun beat down on Icarus and started melting the wax that attached the feathers to his wings. His joy kept him beating his wings however, oblivious to the fact of his wing wax melting. Eventually, all the wax melted and his feathers were gone. Icarus fell to the Aegean Sea, life-source depleted. His father, in search of him, found his wings in the sea. Distraught by this, he retrieved his son’s body from the sea, and took him to the island of Icaria, named after his son, and buried him there. Afterwards he flew to Sicily, built a temple to the God Apollo, and hung his wings up there vowing never to fly again.

I see this as a heavily engaged story about a son who was over ambitious and did not head the words of his father, thus, reaching to far and getting in over his head. This leads to a terrible end for Icarus and anyone else that does not heed wise advice. It is this wisdom that teaches us to think before we act.


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The moral of the story gives it perennial appeal in the fact that generation after generation is affected by the outcomes of action before thought, and not heeding to elders advice. This is also a universal issue due to this being a problem everywhere for mothers and fathers with their children.

Each poet gets a separate type of inspiration from this story. Sexton puts it as long as it was fun and memorable the outcome is worth it. If you had fun doing it, why does it matter what happens later. Whereas Wagner sees it as a more modern way of saying Icarus was sorry but because of what he had done he lost everything that was important to him. That makes Icarus sorry for what he did. A lesson learned and able to be repeated if no thought is put forth.

Vassar Miller sees it in another fashion of the mind. This is to say that imagination takes hold and takes us anywhere we want to go, not knowing where it will take us in the end. It could take us to outsoar all Heaven or plummet us all the way to the depths of Hell. Williams has still another form of translation, however, with Icarus, full foolish pride falls and nobody notices because there life is indifferent to his. He says with all aspects of foolish pride and over ambition, each person is relative to him or herself. It is his own fault and life will go on. Each person’s actions determine his or her own fates. The splash going unnoticed signifies that he acted on his own accord, is responsible for his own actions, and no need to feel sorry for him, he decided his own fate.

The overall moral is still held true, however, in all poems, do not try to achieve too much keep it at a doable level and do not reach to far or take on more than you can handle. Yet be proud of those who try and achieve what you thought impossible along with the achievement of an elemental goal.

All morals and teachings derived from this myth were true from day one. All people at one time or another have attempted something and fallen short. After reconsideration, you reattempt with all facts and figures being met, and make it. This is how dreams of people succeed. If a plan is without thought, succession is rarely possible. Thought and understanding is a major key to implementation of a dream. Do not try to overachieve without listening to others because the outcome could be detrimental.


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