"To anyone looking up he was like one of the old gods: glorious, silhouetted against a dying sky. Then he fell."

The fall of Icarus
Public DomainThe fall of Icarus - Credit: Maso da San Friano

In the myth of Daedalus and Icarus, Daedalus created wings so that they could fly from the palace and escape Crete. The feathers in the wings were held together with wax, so Daedalus warned Icarus not to fly too close to the sun, fearing it would melt the wax. Icarus did not listen to him, however, as he was too caught up in the joy of being able to fly. He flew too close to the sun, and when the wax melted and his wings broke, he plummeted to his death below. Here, this escape attempt and its consequences have been re-imagined. This time it is Rick (Icarus) and not Daedalus who plans the escape, and although Rick gets away Daedalus is left behind. The burning building and Rick falling from it capture the sense of flying and the disastrous heat that brings Icarus down, but this also cleverly parallels Perdita’s fall. This links back to the myth of Daedalus and Icarus, in which Daedalus is forced to see his beloved son die in a similar way to the death he inflicted on Perdix.


The myth of Icarus is meant to comment on the hubris of mankind. Daedalus was like a god in his ability to create marvels such as the labyrinth and the wings, but in the end it was the sun, a force controlled by the true gods, that brought him to ruin. Icarus ignored his father’s advice and wanted to fly higher and closer to the sun, but was brought down for his pride and disobedience. There are many similar stories in mythology, such as the hero Bellerephon who wanted to fly Pegasus to Mount Olympus. The gods punished his hubris by sending a fly to sting Pegasus, who threw Bellerephon from his back. Both these stories could be summed up with the message: ‘pride comes before a fall.’ This story, however, turns Rick’s fall into a desperate escape attempt rather than a message about the danger of pride. Rick’s fall is described in triumphant terms; it is suggested that even if he dies, at least he is finally free.