Comparing Daedalus And Icarus 'Story Of Phaethon'

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Jacob Holstead H Survey Lit Period 7 Power: a Good Thing or a Bad Thing? In “The Story of Phaethon” and “The Story of Daedalus and Icarus,” Ovid conveys the idea that giving someone much power and freedom can be deadly. Both stories follow the same theme of a father giving his son too much power. The son does not know how to handle this power responsibly and it ends up incurring deadly consequences. In “The Story of Daedalus and Icarus,” Daedalus crafts wings to help him and his son escape from their exile on the island known as Crete. He gives Icarus some brief instructions on how to use them, but Icarus still does not grasp the danger of flight and it costs him his life. In “The Story of Phaethon,” Phoebus gives his son permission to fly…show more content…
He thinks of ways to escape, and comes to the conclusion that the best path to take is through the air. He gets to work and builds two pairs of wings with wax, twine, and feathers. Gives one to his son, he briefly instructs him on how to use them. In the book, he says, “I warn you, Icarus, fly a middle course. Don’t go too low, or water will weigh the wings down. Don’t go too high, or the sun’s fire will burn them. Keep to the middle way. And one more thing, no fancy steering by star or constellation. Follow my lead!”(188). After Daedalus’s brief warning, they take off. Icarus follows closely behind, but not for long. Ovid writes, “The boy thought this is wonderful! and left his father, soared higher, higher, drawn to the vast heaven nearer the sun, and the wax that held the wings melted in that fierce heat, and the bare arms beat up and down in air, and lacking oarage took hold of nothing. Father! he cried, and Father! Until the blue sea hushed him”(188). Despite Daedalus instructing his son on how to use the wings and telling Icarus to fly a middle course, he was still tempted by opportunity. Daedalus gave his son too much freedom, and this caused the loss of his…show more content…
In “The Story of Daedalus and Icarus,” Ovid writes, ”Fooling around, as a boy will, always whenever a father is trying to get some work done”(187). This conveys the idea that Icarus would have strayed off of course even if Daedalus was more detailed in his instruction, due to sheer human nature. There was nothing Daedalus could do to prevent the death of his son. In “The Story of Phaethon,” Phaethon takes advantage of his father’s wish and is not thinking clearly because he is so eager to prove to the world that he is Phoebus’s son. In the book, Phaeton begs, “Give me proof, so people will believe me, know me for what I am, and let my mind be free from doubting!”(29). Most parents do not want doubtful children who do not believe their own father is actually their father. It makes lots of sense that Phoebus permitted his son’s wish, even though he surely had enough power to revoke it. Although it can be argued that in both cases the son's downfall was no one’s fault but their own, it is clearly the fault of their parents. In “The Story of Daedalus and Icarus,” Ovid writes, “That was the flying lesson, and now to fit the wings to the boy’s shoulders”(188). Ovid was trying to convey that Daedalus was hurrying and that is why he gave such a brief “flying lesson”. Daedalus should have been more detailed with his instruction on using the wings; he

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