Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Fall of Icarus - Ovid

Ovid, the Roman poet (Publius Ovidius Naso), tells the story of the Fall of Icarus. Icarus is the son of Daedalus, the master craftsman who created the labyrinth on the orders of King Minos to hide his son the Minotaur borne of an affair that his wife had (the long sentence was just to set the pace!). The minotaur is half man, half monster and King Minos wishes him to be hidden; but he also commands Daedalus not to leave. Daedalus however has other plans and designs wings with feathers and wax for him and his son Icarus, and they are to fly away to freedom. But Icarus does not heed his father's advice to neither fly too high nor too low and perishes as he flies too high and the wax on the wings melts and he falls to his death.

That takes care of the fall of Icarus, who dies mainly due to hubris and flies too close to the sun. But prior to that we have the story of Minos fighting Nisus,who has, in his white hair strands of purple hair that protect his kingdom from all harm. But Nisus is betrayed by his own daughter who falls in love with Minos and hands him over a strand of the purple hair. Minos takes the victory but not the girl whom he despises for her conduct. On his return he discovers the deeds of his wife and the Minotaur son. After Icarus dies we chance upon many young men or gods, Theseus being one of them, as they embark on an adventure to kill a destructive boar sent by goddess Diana. The boar kills many of the young warriors but is finally vanquished by the group - the first of the wounds having been made by the lone female warrior Atalanta. Meleager, the leader of the expedition offers her the prize, but his decision is hotly contest by the others and in the melee Meleager kills two brothers thereby earning the wrath of their sister.

And on and on the story goes, twisting and turning in the 50 pages with the most fascinating of characters - including that of Hunger who is asked to prey upon a man who offends the gods. Greek mythology is as fascinating as Indian mythology with its tales of gods and wars. love and betrayal. Fascinating stuff.. 

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