Tragic Fall Of Icarus Compares The Myth And How It Relates To "Musee Des Beaux Arts," Landscape With The Fall Of Icarus," And "Waiting For Icarus."

1337 words - 6 pages

The Tragic Death of IcarusThe story of Icarus is a classic Greek myth that has fascinated people all over the world. The tale of his demise has been retold many times throughout history. The myth has been honored in art, songs, poetry and by literature artists, with one apparently inspiring the other to explore the tale in one different approach or another. Three of the most appealing of these versions of the tale of Icarus can be found in the poems "Musee des Beaux Arts" by W. H. Auden, "Landscape with the Fall of Icarus" by W. C. Williams, and "Waiting for Icarus" by Muriel Rukeyser. Even though the three poems talk about Icarus's fall, each covers it in a different way. "Musee des Beaux ...view middle of the document...

So, in the beginning a viewer is oblivious of Icarus's presence, as is the farmer and the ship.In "Musee des Beaux Art," and "Landscape with the Fall of Icarus," Auden and Williams were influenced by Breughel's painting which is clearly shown in the themes of their poems. The two poems center around two basic ideas; life goes on and human beings are self-centered. Auden expresses these ideas when he says "its human position; how it takes place" (line 3) which reveals that pain affects only those who suffer from it. No one ever feels other people's agony. This is the way human beings are. They are indifferent to important or miserable events if it doesn't concern them. We are self-centered. Then Auden proceeds to describe what's in the painting that makes him feel that life goes on no matter what when he says, "That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course/Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot/Where dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer's horse/Scratches its innocent behind a tree" (lines 10-14). So life is a course that runs away regardless of the suffering of others. We might see someone dying or crying for help, but we ignore their cries, pass by them like the do not exist and it does not really affect us. We move on with our lives doing out daily activities as if nothing happened.Williams also was influenced by Breughel's painting and he sees in the drawing what Auden sees. "Landscape of the Fall of Icarus," shares the same themes with "Musee des Beaux Art." Williams states this clearly when he says, "a farmer was ploughing/his field/the whole pageantry/of the year was/awake tingling/near/the edge of the sea/concerned/with itself (lines 3-12). Again, Williams describes the people by the seaside carrying out their activities not concerned with what is going on around them. Even nature looks happy with spring's arrival. Flowers are blooming, everything seems awake, excited, in a state of rebirth, while someone is drowning trying to break away from death. This is exactly true in life. Birth and death must occur simultaneously; otherwise, there will be no continuity.Muriel Rukeyser, in "Waiting for Icarus" makes no apparent connection with Breughel's painting. Indeed, while the painting and works of the previous two poets convey a sense ofobliviousness to the fact that a boy has just died, in "Waiting for Icarus," Rukeyser considers the event from a more personal and emotional perspective....

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