“Icarus” by Edward Field is about a young man named Icarus Hicks who experiences anguish while living in the human world, but attempts to fly again. The original Greek myth of Icarus states that Daedalus, father of Icarus, made wings out of feathers and wax to escape from the Labyrinth (a complex maze he built). After constructing the wings, Daedalus warned Icarus not to fly too close to the sun; however, Icarus disregarded his warning and flew close to the sun, melting the wax. Icarus plummeted into the water where he drowned to death. The poem, “Icarus” exhibits how Icarus did not actually drown but swam to a city where he began to live a human life. References to the myth include, “compelled by the sun” (line 14) and “thought himself a hero” (26). Icarus is depicted as remorseful of his actions and wishes he had drowned instead.
“Icarus” includes a number of literary devices, such as alliteration. In line 1, Field writes “feathers floating” and in line 3, “police preferred.” In the third stanza, there is “curtains carefully” (line 22) and “hates himself” (line 25). Field also describes the setting, the human world, as dull and mundane for example in line 11 Icarus is wearing a “gray, respectable suit.” The tone in the poem is gloomy and dejected as represented in line 13 with “sad, defeated eyes.” Imagery is perceived in line 1 “feathers floating around the hat” and line 24-25, “tries to fly to the lighting fixture on the ceiling.”
In the poem “Icarus” by Edward Field, the main protagonist, Icarus, is struggling to adjust to the human world and cannot let go of his past. The purpose of the poem was to allude to the Greek myth of Icarus and demonstrate how greed may lead to a lifetime of regret and sorrow. Field portrays Icarus’ grief through his daily life in the modern world.