Landscape With The Fall Of Icarus Analysis Essay

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Accompanying the narrator through an exhibition, pictures seaming the walls left and right. Stopping occasionally, contemplating, reflecting. Thinking out aloud, he, the narrator, starts describing his thoughts concerning his observations. Suffering is what he sees. An omnipresence of suffering, visually brutal and imposing, yet a sense of subliminal desensitization overcomes the observer, reflected in the way he calmly recites. The “human positions” of suffering, though well understood by “The Old Masters”, meaning specifically the Dutch Renaissance painter Pieter Bruegel amongst others put on display, is not easily identified or located within their works (Ferguson 1471-1472, Wisse). Pain and tragedies are marginalized both in the paintings…show more content…
In the second stanza, Auden directly addresses this painting and is thorough in his description of it. In it, Icarus, a figure of Greek mythology that flies too close to the sun, falls into the sea since his wings had molten. He crashes, “the white legs disappearing into the green water” (lines 18-19), yet none of the bystanders, neither “the ploughman” who has “heard the splash, the forsaken cry” (lines 15-16) nor “the expensive delicate ship that must have seen something amazing” (lines 19-20) come to his rescue to save him from drowning. The ploughman’s attitude towards the fall, since “for him it was not an important failure” (line 17) further trivializes the tragic proceedings. Even the sun, responsible for Icarus’ fall, is depicted as showing indifference towards Icarus’ fate through an apparent obligation because it “shone as it had to” (line 17-18). All bystanders and therefore “everything turns away quite leisurely from the disaster” (lines 14-15), carrying on with their occupations and all “sailed calmly on” (line
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