Hubris

Icarus and Daedalus Photograph: Kaldari; Sculpture: Rebecca Matte (1875-1929); Creative Commons.Wikimedia

Icarus and Daedalus

Photograph: Kaldari; Sculpture: Rebecca Matte (1875-1929); Creative Commons.Wikimedia

Seeing the mischievous glint in his son’s eye, Daedalus warned him, again.

“You’re to follow me,” he said.  “And stick with the plan.  Not too high.  Not too low.  Keep an even balance. Do you understand?”

“Yes, father,” said Icarus.  “I get it. Not too high.  Not too low.”

So off they went with Daedalus in the lead. Needless to say, once they were off the ground, Icarus completely ignored his father’s warning. Exhilarated by the flight and convinced he knew better than his old man, Icarus soared higher and higher and closer and closer to the sun. He could hear his father shouting for him to fly lower, but he paid no attention. He was Icarus, after all, confident and self-assured.

As he soared higher and higher, Icarus happened to glance at his wings. To his horror, he realized the sun was melting the wax on the wooden frame, causing his feathers to fall off in droves.  He tried to reverse course, flapping what was left of his wings in a desperate effort to stay in the sky. But it was too late. His wooden frame could not support him, and poor Icarus plunged to his death in the sea.

What are we to make of this story of Icarus?  Does it have any relevance to our lives today?  If so, how? 

To understand the story of Icarus, we have to begin by understanding the significance of the sun and the sea.  So stay tuned.

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AuthorTamara Agha-Jaffar