Based on the Greek myth of Daedalus and Icarus, Edward Field’s poem “Icarus” has developed modernity from the time of the ancient Greece. Field developed this modernity by using literary devices so that the reader would have a broader understanding on Icarus. In the beginning of the poem, Field uses irony when the police don’t suspect anything more than the “usual drowning” because in reality Icarus had “swum away”. Fields use of diction also puts the story into contemporary setting because when he mentions that the witnesses had “ran off to gang war” he is giving the reader twentieth century examples because police and gangs did not exist during Greek time.
In the second stanza juxtaposition occurs when Icarus goes from being defiant in his times to “nice Mr. Hicks” in modernity. An allusion is then being made when Field says that the neighbors would “never dream that that gray, respectable suit concealed arms that controlled huge wings” meaning that the “gray respectable suit” type look made Icarus blend with all the other boring people and his “concealed arms” are not “arms” used in gang wars but those with which he attempted flight. However no one would ever expect this from him because he is living an everyday life that any other ordinary person would live.
As you move on to the third stanza Field is finally able to adapt the story of Icarus to the modern world by using wings as a symbol. In the beginning of Icarus his “arms...had controlled huge wings” and it then moves to him “construct[ing] small wings and [trying] to fly” but fails. The shift from Icarus having huge wings to the infirmity of his small wings shows how Icarus has fallen from greatness. His “eyes had once compelled the sun” and now his largest goal is to reach “the light fixture on the ceiling”. This comparison symbolizes the high expectations he once had for himself and how they are now lowered and yet still unobtainable. These symbols helped Field modernize this classic...
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