The Image of Icarus in the Modern Literature

Published: 2021-07-18 09:10:06
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Category: Mythology

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In “Musee de Beaux Arts” by W.H. Auden, “Flight 063” by Brian Aldiss, and “To a Friend Whose Work Has Come to Triumph” by Anne Sexton, Icarus is a hero not because he is always successful but because he is determined, hardworking, and an inspiration to others.
Icarus having strong determination proves that when someone has a goal they want to achieve they become ambitious and work hard to achieve their goal. In stanza 4 of Brian Aldiss’ “Flight 063”, Icarus is jumping off the cliff before he starts to fly. The poet uses the words “his cliff-top jump” to show how passionate Icarus is about flying to the sun. This shows ambition because Icarus is so eager to show off his wings which he himself constructed. Icarus’ “glorious sense of life imperiled” shows that even though flying to the sun is dangerous Icarus still wants to show people he can do it. These words show that Icarus is persistent in what he wants. “Time fell far below, every day” shows that flying is his passion.Icarus being an inspiration to others proves that even though people do fail it’s all about the impact they make in the world and other people’s lives. In lines 7-12 of Anne Sexton’s poem, “To a Friend Whose Work Has Come to Triumph”, Icarus is flying high in the sky towards the sun. In the poem, the author uses words like “think of innocent Icarus who is doing quite well” to show that Icarus is watched by others. The viewers want to be as ambitious as Icarus and achieve their goals like him. The poet uses the phrase “admire his wings” to signify that people look up to Icarus. Icarus has so much passion for what he does and the people envy that. People start to notice even though Icarus is falling in the end he is not a failure. Icarus achieved the goal of flying and that’s what counts. The townspeople saw Icarus as being victorious through his determination.
Icarus’ strong will power proves that the end result doesn’t matter as long as you work hard and push yourself through the hard times. In lines 17-21 W.H. Auden’s “Musee des Beaux-Arts”, Icarus is falling into the ocean while everyone else is still working. The poet uses the words “it was not an important failure” to show that although Icarus did fall he did succeed in flying. This shows that Icarus is the perfect example of a hero. Icarus is an imperfect human but still can encourage others through his triumphs and failures. In the poem, the words “the sun shone as it had to” prove that one mistake does not define what kind of person Icarus was. Even though Icarus failed he did attain the ability to fly and that was an accomplishment. We should always push ourselves to be great like Icarus but in the end, our failures are what help us to learn. Icarus falling was “something amazing” to the spectators. It showed that someone so committed to something actually tried to accomplish their goal. I believe the people were encouraged by Icarus because he showed them that it’s ok to take risks. Icarus is not a hero because he achieved his goal of flying to the sun but because he tried his hardest and believed in himself.

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