Icarus’ tragic story is no outlier in Greek mythology. Its plot, characters, and theme closely resemble those of the myth of Phaëthon. Studying these two myths in conjunction can help students solidify their understanding of Classical mythology. Have students use a storyboard grid to compare various aspects of Icarus’ and Phaëthon’s stories. Have students use a square and text box overlay to explain the similarities between the two myths.
Icarus’ tale also connects to many other similarly-themed stories. Consider comparing it to the myth of Prometheus or Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
|PHAËTHON & ICARUS|
|CHARACTERS||Both Phaëthon and Icarus are young sons of important men. Phaëthon is the son of the god, Apollo, while Icarus is the son of Daedalus, a clever, mortal inventor. Neither boy achieves much in life. Both are famous for their failures rather than their accomplishments.|
|TRAGIC FLAWS||Phaethon and Icarus share the tragic flaws of heedlessness and hubris. Both boys fail to listen to the good advice of their parents. Phaëthon ignores his father's urging not to drive his sun chariot; Icarus forgets his father's directions not to fly to close to the sun. Their heedless disregard for their parents' wisdom is truly tragic. Some scholars also argue that both characters are brought low by hubris, or excessive pride. Phaëthon's pride is obvious in his arrogant demand to take on the role of a god. Icarus' hubris is more symbolic. His sin of flying too high represents human ambition that has gone too far. In trying to fly, Icarus and his father are making themselves more powerful than humans are meant to be. The recognition that man was not intended to fly is further suggested by Daedalus' gesture of leaving the wings in the temple of Apollo.|
|TERRIBLE FATES||Both boys plummet to their deaths as a result of their own mistakes. Phaethon dies when Zeus throws a thunderbolt at him to stop him from destroying the earth in Apollo's sun chariot. He falls to earth in a ball of fire. Icarus dies when the wax melts from his manufactured wings and he falls like lead into the sea below, eventually drowning.|
Grade Level 6-8
Difficulty Level 5 (Advanced / Mastery)
Type of Assignment Individual, Partner, or Group
Type of Activity: Compare and Contrast with T-ChartsCommon Core Standards
(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)
Create a storyboard comparing and contrasting "Icarus and Daedalus" with another text.
(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)
Text and images include a clear explanation of similarities and/or differences between the categories or topics. These comparisons go beyond superficial elements and show strong understanding.
Text and images include an explanation of similarities and/or differences between the categories or topics, but the explanation may lack clarity or show only superficial understanding in some squares.
Text and images may include no explanation of similarities and/or differences, or they may make only superficial or inaccurate comparisons.
Storyboard Image and Effort
Student clearly shows effort to convey the setting, characters and specific scene of the book. The scene is clearly identifiable based on the graphic depiction.
Student attempts to convey the setting, characters, and specific scene through use of graphics, but the depiction may be confusing, disordered, or lack some detail.
Student does not clearly convey the setting, characters, and scene.
Spelling and Grammar
Student uses exemplary spelling and grammar. There are no errors.
Student makes one or two minor errors in spelling and grammar.
Student makes multiple errors in spelling and grammar.
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