The Concept of Hubris in Daedalus and Icarus Story essay

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Mythology of ancient Greece has a great influence on literature, arts, and music within the whole history of their development. One of the well-known myths tells about Daedalus and Icarus, the father and the son, who are the embodiment of human’s desire to conquer the heavens be exposing their arrogance and hubris.

After reviewing this myth by Thomas Bullfinch, it may be defined that Daedalus is the picture of intelligence. He longs to get back to his native country, and the only way is flying via the air. The father shares the invention with his son. Icarus does not follow father’s instructions to keep to the golden mean, i.e. to avoid flying up in the sky and descending to close to the surface of the sea. For this reason, his disobedience leads to the death. With this in mind, Icarus may be considered as the personification of ignorant people, who refuses to accept some rules. As a result, they injure either themselves or cause damages to others.

This theme of father’s invention, which ruined the son’s life, has been disclosed in works of many artists and writers in different times. It is reflected in Pieter Brueghel’s the Elder picture Landscape with the fall of Icarus and W.H. Auden's poem "Musee des Beaux Arts" connected to the painting. Analyzing these works, it can also be mentioned that people can admire success and observe failures, i.e. being only contemplators. Considering Alan Devenish’s poem, it intensifies the impression of the myth approving the human’s tragedy: we suffer from our inventions ourselves.

Conflict is a struggle between opposing forces in a story or play, usually resolved by the end of the work. There are external and internal conflicts. Talking about the myth about Daedalus and Icarus, there may be defined the conflict between man and nature. Daedulus is trying to overcome nature forces and subjugate the sky. Though there may be defined one smaller conflict between the king and Daedalus, which actually leads to the main conflict of the myth: human’s hubris.