The Story of Icarus from Greek Mythology


About Icarus from Greek Mythology

Icarus is known in the Greek mythology as the son of an artisan named Daedalus, who was also the maker of the Labyrinth. He lived on an island in Crete where the ruler was King Minos. Icarus’ father was a celebrated inventor of great and unique mechanical creations. Daedalus's invention created for King Minos' daughter impressed the leader. Icarus' father was commissioned to build a cage where King Minos could hide the half-bull and half-man monster, the Minotaur. Daedalus built the infamous Labyrinth.

Good Old Dad

King Minos was greatly impressed with the work of Icarus' father, which led him to the decision of imprisoning Icarus and Daedalus so the inventor could work solely for him. The king's greed led the young man and his father to be locked up in a cave above sea level. The only way to escape the prison was through the Labyrinth where the Minotaur was locked, which was also surrounded by the king’s soldiers. The other way to escape the prison was through the entrance situated on the side of high cliff plunging down to the sea below.

At first, Icarus and his father Daedalus were content with King Minos' decision to lock them up. Everything Icarus’ father asked from the king was instantly provided. They both received plenty of food and the inventor tools he could use when working on his new inventions. Icarus was young when they were imprisoned by the king, and didn't complain - he even enjoyed being able to help his father with his new inventions and especially playing with the toys his father made just for him.

Despair

As the young Icarus grew, he realized he would be imprisoned in the cave for a lifetime. Daedalus also thought about his son’s well-being; Icarus was tired of living in the cold, damp cave, and despaired of never having a life.

The 16-years old Icarus started to complain to his father and stated he wanted to go on adventures, meet a girl, make her his wife and have his own son. He even expressed his hatred for the king, the cave, and his father. However, after the outburst, Icarus immediately apologized. Because of the rage Icarus had shown, his father asked for King Minos to make his son one of the royal guards, which the king considered.

Wooden Wings

Ultimately, the king decided not to let Icarus go and instead stay with his father and keep him company, because he might have acquired his father’s skills. For them to escape, Daedalus created wings from wooden frames. The wings were covered with big feathers and were tightly secured using wax.

When they took to flight, Daedalus advised Icarus to fly in between the sun and the ocean - far from the sun because it would melt the wax, and not too close to the sea for it would dampen the feathers. However, as they flew, Icarus got carried away and despite his father's passionate pleas, ventured too close to the sun, melting the wax and causing his plunge hundreds of feet below, resulting in his demise.