Landscape with the Fall of Icarus

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Landscape with the Fall of Icarus

By | May 2006
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Myths explain our circumstances in the world and the universe. A prime example of this is the myth of Icarus and Daedalus. Pieter Brueghel painted a picture decrypting the moment of Icarus fall from the heavens. And the two poets William Carlos Williams and W. H. Auden each wrote a poem based on Brueghel's painting, both of which developed a deep meaningful message to the reader. Diction, connotation, and denotation are all used to help describe the emotions and tragedies that Brueghel's painting portrays. These poems are written based on the myth of Icarus. Pieter Brueghel's painting tricks the observer. The viewer is first drawn left, where a red-shirted farmer and his horse, plowing a hill, descend into shadows. The eyes then wander center, toward the yellow sun melting above a darkening harbor, beyond a shepherd tending his flock by the beach. Everything is turned away from the boy, Icarus, whose flailing legs appear, upon closer examination, among waves and falling feathers, in the darkness on the lower right. Icarus, the young boy who ignored his father's warnings, soared too near the hot sun, melted his waxen wings, and perished. But the world of the painting coldly progresses, a cynical commentary on a cold world that turns its back on this quiet display of human suffering. The loss of an arrogant little boy who caused his own demise means little to poor laborers preoccupied with their own respective struggles for survival. William Carlos Williams' poem titled "Landscape with the fall of Icarus" is in the tercets style of writing which consist of three-line groups and each line has no more than four words. Williams' poem reads like a short story as it is quick to point out the images a person would get in their head looking at Brueghel's painting. It captures the moments that are forever painted in time on the canvas from the mundane life of a farmer going about his business to the small right corner of the painting where you can see the legs of...