The legend goes that Icarus, enraptured by his ability to fly, flew too close to the sun. The heat melted the wax that held the wings together, and Icarus fell to his death.
|All it takes is one good shove.|
It probably would have stayed that way if not for the rise of the individual throughout the centuries that followed - a cultural trend that meant that no one really wanted to believe that "pride goeth before the fall."
What helped the recasting of Icarus along was a totally amazing and remarkable painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, called "Landscape With the Fall of Icarus," in which the momentous event is rendered almost irrelevant against the scene of everyday normal life. This is a complete reimagining of the myth.
|Where's Icarus? (Click to enlarge) |
About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters; how well, they understood
Its human position; how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer's horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.
In Breughel's Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.
(Poem, painting, and commentary.)