Who is Icarus?

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Who is Icarus?

Icarus is one famous character in Greek Mythology.  He is the son of Nausicrates and Daedalus, the great inventor, architect, and artist.  Icarus’ life, and eventually his death, has a great connection to his father’s own story as a craftsman.

Daedalus was commissioned by King Minos of Crete to build a palace where he could hide his treasures from his enemies.  Being a descendant of craftsman God Hephaestos, Daedalus was able to create the “Labyrinth”, a building with complex rooms and corridors.  It was said that any enemy of King Minos would not be able to escape after entering the Labyrinth.  The half-man half-bull Minotaur was allowed inside the Labyrinth for additional security.

King Minos was thankful for Daedalus’ accomplishment, but could not let him go because of fear that Daedalus might spread the secret in finding the way out of the Labyrinth. The secret eventually got to Thesseus from Ariadni, King Minos’ daughter.  Thesseus entered the Labyrinth and killed Minotaur, who was known to eat 7 Athenian girls per year.  King Minos felt betrayed afterwards and so he let Daedalus and his son Icarus become prisoners of the Laybrinth.

But Daedalus, being a great craftsman, found a way to escape his own invention.  He made wings out of feathers and wax for himself and his son Icarus.  He warned Icarus though, not to stay close to the sun when they escape.  Both were able to go out of the Labyrinth with their new wings, but Icarus got so excited with flying that he forgot his father’s warning and got close to sun.  The intense heat of the sun melted Icarus’ wings and he fell to his death on the waters near Icaria, an island in the Aegean Sea.

Icarus’ dramatic death became a subject of numerous stories and paintings of today.  Some celebrate his life and heroism, while others attribute his life and death to some negativity.  Some even associate his death with mental disorders, referring to a mental high at first, followed by a speedy fall to reality.

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