The Lament of Icarus

Jacob Peter Gowy's "The Flight of Icarus"

Jacob Peter Gowy’s “The Flight of Icarus”

In Greek Mythology, Icarus was the son of Daedalus, a master craftsman who was imprisoned on the Isle of Crete by King Minos. Daedalus fashioned wings for them to escape, but, according to the poet Ovid, he issued the following warning to his son:

“Let me warn you, Icarus, to take the middle way, in case the moisture weighs down your wings, if you fly too low, or if you go too high, the sun scorches them. Travel between the extremes.”

Out of youthful impetuousness, Icarus defies his father, flies too close to the sun which melts his wings of wax, causing him to plunge to his death in the sea below. Youthful exuberance and energy must be balanced and tempered.