After reading Landscape With The Fall of Icarus by William Carlos Williams and Musee Des Beaux Arts by W. H. Auden, a clear idea is present. Both authors seem to minimize the importance of Icarus’s death, but with what intent? In both poems, self-concern outweighs any intentions to help Icarus. It is clear to me what the authors were trying to express by implying that people simply had their own things to do, too used to disaster to even care about anyone besides themselves.
In the Landscape With The Fall Of Icarus, Williams makes it clear that people are too concerned with themselves to notice anything happening around them. That idea started to become present when Williams wrote “the edge of the sea concerned with itself”. This quote demonstrates how everyone only cared about what they were doing. The message was very clear to me when the poem said “insignificantly off the coast there was a splash quite unnoticed this was Icarus drowning”.
The way Williams used the word “insignificantly” while describing Icarus’s fall made me think that he wanted to give the impression that Icarus’s fall was not important to anyone and it was just another daily tragedy. In the Musee des Beaux Arts by W. H. Auden, the message Auden was trying to give seems to jump out of the page. For example, a quote from the poem says “how everything turns away Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may Have heard the Splash, the forsaken cry, But for him it was not an important failure”.
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This quote clearly shows how people can so easily turn from disaster without a second thought. And even though someone may have heard the splash and the cry, it was not an “important failure” to them because he was not affected. I think Auden meant the reason for people’s selfishness, when it comes to disaster, to be from how used they were to tragedy. If disaster is an often occurrence, it’s harder to be as affected from it. The first lines of Musee de Beaux Arts are “About suffering they were never wrong, The old Masters: how well they understood Its human position: how it takes place”.
This beginning to the poem demonstrates that same idea: that people are accepting of suffering. People understood its human position; they understood how it takes place. This is why I think Auden made Icarus’s death seem unimportant, simply because people were so used to it. Also, the last lines of Auden’s poem were “the expensive delicate ship that must have seen Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky, Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on. This quote from the text seems to give a clear answer to why Icarus’s death seemed so unimportant; it was simply because people were too caught up in their own business to care for each other’s. As you can see, Icarus’s death in the poems Landscape With The Fall Of Icarus and Musee des Beaux Arts seemed very unimportant. By reading the poems carefully, you can see the two author’s meaning behind this, which was that people were too concerned with themselves to care.
on Fall of Icarus Poems
Landscape with the Fall of Icarus William Carlos Williams- 1883-1963 According to Brueghel when Icarus fell it was spring a farmer was ploughing his field the whole pageantry of the year was awake tingling near the edge of the sea concerned with itself sweating in the sun that melted the wings' wax unsignificantly off the coast
find poems find poets poem-a-day library (texts, books & more) materials for teachers poetry near you Landscape with the Fall of Icarus William Carlos Williams- 1883-1963 According to Brueghel when Icarus fell it was spring a farmer was ploughing his field the whole pageantry of the year was awake tingling near the edge of the sea concerned
To us, the fall of Icarus is nothing but tragedy, and the character of Icarus is one to be pitied. Yet in this stanza, he laughs and bares his teeth against the world. Unlike the passive Icarus who can do nothing but fall screaming to his death, this Icarus embraces his fate with wild abandon.
a splash quite unnoticed this was Icarus drowning From Collected Poems: 1939-1962, Volume IIby William Carlos Williams, published by New Directions Publishing Corp. © 1962 by William Carlos Williams. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.
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