Daedalus and Icarus

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Trevor D Professor M Comp and Lit 2 12/16/12 WAITING FOR ICARUS BY: MURIEL RUKEYSER The myth of Daedalus and Icarus begins with the character Daedalus as the main character. Because of his actions, his deceit, his attempts at redemption, and finally his desperate escape for his life, his son was killed. While Icarus was a rather important character, not much was known about his personal life, only that he was an inventor like his father, and met a untimely end. Muriel Rukeyser takes this lack of information on Icarus and creates a new branch to the story through her poetry. The poem “Waiting for Icarus”, by Muriel Rukeyser, is written from the point of view of a woman that was in love with Icarus, and mourns his death. This is an interesting point of view on the myth because nothing was really known of a woman in Icarus’ life, and this somehow makes his death all the more tragic. When the poem begins, it is not yet known who the narrator is, which adds a sense of mystery to the poem. It begins with a list of everything Icarus had said to this person, promises they made, things they would do together, and things they have done together. The repetition of “He said” before every sentence shows that this was something the narrator had been thinking about for a while and kept repeating inside her head. The reader can now tell that it is a woman that Icarus had a sexual relationship with, “He said he loved me, that going into me he said, was going into the world and the sky,”(6,7) You can see that the narrator was deeply in love with Icarus and was mourning over his loss when she talks about the wings in lines 9,10 and 11. She knows that Icarus is dead because of the failed wings and almost blames him for believing that it would work when it wouldn’t. The second stanza follows the pattern for the first with the repetition of “I remember” before every
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