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Analysis of ‘Icarus’ by Christine Hemp Essay

In the poem “Icarus,” Christine Hemp uses literary devices to convey that a father-son relationship can be problematic. Hemp pulls a twist on the original myth, and retells it in Icarus’ point of view. Her version of the myth shows that Icarus wasn’t very fond of his father Daedalus; however Daedalus didn’t realize that Icarus wanted to be free. “bound by the string…for years to untie TO I didn’t know…to return” (#14 and 15 TO 16 and 17)

This quote portrays the emotion Icarus feels towards his father by the use of irony. At this point, the reader understands that Icarus had to deal with Daedalus with only the hope of exiting the prison, but once free he longs to be away from his father. Christine Hemp threw a new strand of emotion into the mix by showing that Icarus wanted to be free; as doing so, he caused a catastrophe. “Poor Daedalus, his mouth an O below, his hands outstretched to catch the rain…” (#18 and 19)

This excerpt shows diction, which illustrates Daedalus’ innocence with the words ‘poor’ and ‘O below’. Hemp also tried to show the difference between Icarus and Daedalus by using asyndeton. “my clumsiness with figures, father’s calm impatience, cool logic, interminable devising.” (#8 and 9)

This shows Icarus’ reasons as to why he doesn’t like Daedalus, and why he tries to be better than his father. Since Daedalus is clueless, he couldn’t prevent Icarus’ death; now the reader can infer that Daedalus will have a life of sorrow and regret, without knowing the truth. Hemp’s use of the devices diction, irony, and asyndeton help the reader further understand the myth in a way the original myth couldn’t.

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