A comparision of the “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus” and Gullivers Travels
Gulliver sails across the wide expanse of an ocean on a voyage, just as Icarus, son of Daedalus did on a pair of wax welded wings. Both met their disasters on the waters of their journeys. Gulliver was ignorant and naïve and Icarus proud and arrogant. Both expressed having weakness as only human nature can have. Bruegel’s painting, ‘Landscape with the Fall of Icarus”, portrays this artist’s opinion of the Greek legend as well as human nature in relation to moral dilemmas. Jonathan Swift, the writer of Gulliver’s Travels, also uses his written art to voice his opinion regarding morality and the follies of mankind. These men used their talents in such a way as to try and awaken and affect change in the society of their time. Despite the incredible, even heroic invention of Icarus’s wings, his over-confidence and arrogance by disregarding the warnings of his father destroyed him in the end. The message can be interpreted from the painting that the poison of the human condition comes from such vices, and eventually leads to downfall in a person’s life and in society. Human Pride and arrogance are not lasting qualities in the scheme of world order. The higher Icarus choose to fly towards the sun, the more his wings melted away, much like high-flying ambitions fueled by selfish desires erode our life. One way in which Bruegel’s painting has a moral voice is in the sense one gets of a lack of society’s remorse for the passing of Icarus. Even with his passing, life seems to go on and perhaps for the better. In comparison, Jonathan Swift’s written work of Gulliver’s Travels also has many characters who exhibit a stubborn pride or selfishness which resulted in traumatic consequences. Probably the most obvious example is in the first adventure of Lilliput. The Lilliputian government shamelessly took advantage of Gulliver’s good nature on several accounts and waged war for petty reasons....
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