Icarus in the Poem by Edward Field as an Image Related to Present

Published: 2021-07-18 09:00:05
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Category: Mythology

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In his poem, “Icarus”, Edward Field creatively expresses the myth of “Icarus and Daedalus” in a modern context, detailing Icarus’ life after he was believed to have drowned. Feeling that he has fallen from greatness to being average, Icarus continuously tries to fix his wings so he could fly to greatness once more. Realizing the truth of his averageness, Icarus wishes that he had just died a hero instead of living. Through the manipulation of modern diction and dreary imagery, Field develops a pitying tone to express the effect of continuous disappointments on human motivation.
The field employs modern diction to illustrate the contemporary setting Icarus now resides in. Throughout his writing, he uses terms that are specific to the present, with phrases like “gray respectable suit”, “front yard” and “commuter trains”. This contemporary diction emphasizes the fact that Icarus is no longer mythical and grand, but rather, part of the monotonous story of a life like any other citizen, in order to stress the irony of how Icarus believed he was heroic and was a fallen hero, but in truth, he was average all along, accomplishing nothing but disobeying his father. Icarus cannot go against suburban social norms, thus resorting to conforming to society, repressing Icarus’ true ideals. This description of normalcy ordinary readers are familiar with achieves Field’s purpose of illustrating themes of how failure to achieve tall dreams results in becoming jaded, living in the vicious cycle of failure and demoralization that is all too familiar in contemporary society.Describing Icarus going through multiple trials trying to adapt to mediocracy, Field expresses Icarus’ refusal to believe he was anything else but insignificant by detailing the image of Icarus “constructing small wings” to fly “to the lighting fixture on the wall”. As time progresses and with each and every failure, it is apparent to readers that Icarus’ goals keep diminishing in grandeur, from desiring to reach the sun to just reaching the light on his ceilings that acts as a poor substitute for the sun, paling in comparison to the vibrancy of the sun. Continuing to fail in a goal so small, Icarus’ self-confidence shatters and he wishes he had drowned instead of having to live a life resigned to mediocrity. Thus, Field successfully depicts Icarus’ resentment of his ordinary life in order to express that even someone that is seemingly remarkable can get caught in the world’s grasp of failure and hopelessness.
Using modern diction and dreary imagery, Edward Field’s poem retells the original myth of Icarus’ fate to a realistic one, employing a pitying tone, where modern readers are able to relate with Icarus’ constant failures and disappointments, altering his ambitious nature to one that is bitter towards the human society around us that kills the ambitions we hold that differentiates ourselves from the norms. In the end, we too wish that we had drowned trying to succeed instead of burning out due to perpetual disappointments.

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