Tag Archives: Icarus

Legend of Icarus

The informant shared the myth of Icarus, focusing on Daedalus, a renowned inventor known for creating the Minotaur’s labyrinth, and his son, Icarus. They were confined in an open-air tower, forced to produce inventions indefinitely. Seeking freedom, they crafted large wings from bird feathers and candle wax. Before their escape, Daedalus cautioned Icarus against flying too high to prevent the wax from melting. However, Icarus, enthralled by the joy of flight, ignored the warning. He soared too close to the sun, causing his wings to melt, and tragically plummeted into the sea, leading to his death.

Context: Was told this legend as a little kid in a Greek family while being punished for not listening to his parents. He disobeyed them and they told him the story as justification for why he was being punished, saying if he didn’t learn his lesson he would end up like Icarus. 

Analysis: I think this legend reflects the dislike of ego in Greek society, with many other myths or legends being aimed at people who display hubris such as Odysseus and the cyclops in the Odyssey. The informant was told this story to encourage him to listen to his parents more and also to try and instill humility as a trait. It also works to make sure they dont lose their culture in a new society by repeating these stories to their children. 


“How bout Icarus? How bout a myth?  Icarus?  You know Icarus?  So I always heard this myth, Icarus and his dad….were imprisoned– I don’t really know why.  But, they just worked for the wrong people, anyway they went to prison……. Oh now I remember.  His father was an architect– a famous architect back in Greek mythology, and he had built a labyrinth for the king or whatever back then– the emperor.  But they locked him up though, after he built it, they locked him up cause they didn’t want him telling anybody the key to the labyrinth, they wanted it to be secret.  They were afraid that if he were out in the public, he would tell people how to escape from it and I guess it was meant to…um, keep people in.  So he was shut up in a tower with his son, Icarus, and but he was a really skilled guy and they were up in a tower and they had windows around them but they couldn’t get out because it was so high up, but the birds would fly around and sometimes feathers would drift in.  So they spent– Icarus’ dad had an idea that they could use the wax from their candle if they collected enough feathers, they could maybe  make wings to fly out of the tower.  So they collected– every time the birds flew around they collected all the feathers that fluttered into, um, their prison, at the top of the tower, and they finally collected enough that they were able to create these wings.  But Icarus’ dad said, “Listen, these are made out of wax and, you know, you see the candles, and when wax gets hot it melts and so when we fly out of here you cannot fly too close to the sun.  You must stay low.  Follow me, follow me.  And so, Icarus, the day came and they’re very excited to jump out of this tower and fly away from their imprisonment.  And Icarus’ dad says another time, “Don’t fly too close to the sun….or you’ll fall.”  So they start out and they’re doing wonnnderfully, they’re flying out of it and it’s exhilarating and so exciting and, um, Icarus is following his father, but he just gets so carried away with being able to fly that he starts kinda flying around his father, and then he gets a little higher and then goes down a little bit, then he gets a little higher again and he comes down and he keeps getting a little higher and his father is saying, “Icarus, don’t fly too close to the sun!!”  And… Icarus starts to lose a few feathers….and the wax gives way on his wings… and the feathers fall off of his wings and he plummets to the earth and dies.  Cause he flew too close to the sun.  So the message is, he indulged– what is it– he indulged his whimsy which led to his demise.”



I had heard the myth of Icarus before, but it was nice to get a refresher.  This tale follows the traditional structure of a Greek myth.  You have an individual pushing his abilities and boundaries to unattainable levels.  The individual is then punished for his excessive ambition.