Myths of Crete: Icarus

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Part 2: The Sad End of Icarus

Daedalus flew to safety. Icarus flew to the Sun. He was so impressed with the power and strength of his wings that he flew ever higher in the sky, out into space, and even to the Sun itself. The wings, being made of feathers and wax, melted in the Sun's heat, and Icarus plummeted to his death.

Daedalus continued his flight, landing in Athens first and then ending up in Syria, ever fearful of retribution. Minos never caught up with him, but Daedalus mourned his son for the rest of his days.

What are we to make of this tale? It's as simple as the adage, "Pride goes before a fall." We could also term it, "Listen to your parents." Icarus was so proud of his new wings and his newly found flying ability that he wanted to show off. He ignored his father's warning not to fly too high, setting off for as high as he could reach. The result was his death.

This story was probably used as an object lesson to prove the adages in the previous paragraph. Icarus did not listen to his father; he died because of it. Icarus was too proud; the result was his death.

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David White