We have heard a lot about the “necessity” being the mother of “invention” but is every invention a form of bliss? or can it be a curse in disguise too?
Such is the mythological story of Deadalus and his son Icarus.
Deadalus was a dextrous craftsman and a renowned artist who lived in the city of Athens. He was known for his unique and innovative creations and for being a pioneer in the quest of making human life easier and extravagant. He challenged the limitations of everyday life of a normal craftsman and invented the various tools for carpentry like hammer, saw etc. He built the first wide dancing floor, the first bath house and the toys that had the ability to move and mechanically animate for the king’s children. He sculptured such real looking statues in the king’s palace that even the king himself was deceived to think of them as being real humans.
However, envy spares no man and Deadalus too was jealous of his only competitor, his nephew.
It is believed that the credit for his invention of saw went to his nephew instead of Deadalus and driven by the intense feelings of vengeance, rage and professional jealousy, Deadalus ended up killing his nephew.
In order to escape the consequences and charges of murder, Deadalus absconded from Athens and came to the island of Crete. He went to the royal court of king Minos to pay his respects and was heartily welcomed by the king who was charmed by his wonderful inventions.
The king asked Deadalus to serve in his court as the palace’s technical advisor and the homeless Deadalus gleefully accepted the offer.
King Minos was an ungrateful man and was known for his several acts of ingratitude which made him a subject of wrath of gods.
As a punishment for keeping the gifted white bull with himself, instead of serving it as a sacrifice, Poseidon cursed King Minos .He put a spell on Minos’ wife and made her fall in love with that prized bull lustfully.
Blinded and oblivion to the curse, king’s wife asked Deadalus to help her in attracting the bull. Deadalus who was an egoistic man and who couldn’t say no to any challenge, invented a hollow structure of cow to lure the white bull.
King’s wife hid in that hollow structure and seduced the bull to mate with her hence giving birth to a monsterous half-man and half-bull baby.
The baby was named as Minotaur.
Enraged by Deadalus’ audacity, king forced him to construct an inescapable labyrinth to trap Minotaur.
After the construction, as a part of punishment and in an attempt to safeguard the secret of labyrinth, Minos imprisoned Deadalus and his innocent son Icarus on the roof of a huge tower in the palace.
But Deadalus was not a man to be kept tied by any number of shackles or to be bounded by any prison walls. He observed the birds who were flying freely over his tower and was instantly motivated to construct two giant pairs of wings, one for himself and another for his son.
The inspiration from the birds lend him a way to escape and fly away from the prison.
While strapping the wings to his son, he warned him not to fly too close to the sea as it would dampen and soak the wings, making them too heavy to fly with. He also apprised him not to fly too high in the sky as the sun’s heat would melt the wax which was the only force binding the feathers to the framework.
After giving these instructions, father and son ascended to their flight, leaving the Crete behind them.
Overwhelmed by the ecstacy of an unbelievable flight, Icarus wanted to soar up as high as possible. He forgot his father’s words and ascended higher and higher. As a result the sun’s heat soon began to melt the wax and his feathers disintegrated.
Icarus, who was feeling majestic like gods a few seconds before , started falling downwards and finally drowned in the sea.
Powerless Deadalus could only watch his son fall and could only lament on his unthoughtful invention which resulted in the death of his beloved son.
Ever since, Icarus’ fall became a remarkable symbol of human’s desire and fondness to defy the nature’s laws to become the supreme power and reach the unattainable heights and their incapability to realize the importance of humbleness.