Comparison of Icarus and Phaëthon

This Storyboard That activity is part of the lesson plans for Icarus and Daedalus


Icarus and Phaethon Comparison

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Activity Overview


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.


Comparison of Icarus and Phaëthon



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.



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Student Instructions

Create a storyboard comparing and contrasting "Icarus and Daedalus" with another text.

  1. Use the template provided by your teacher.
  2. Identify different characteristics to compare.
  3. In one column, describe how those characteristics appear in "Icarus and Daedalus".
  4. In the other column, describe how the characteristics appear in your chosen text.
  5. Illustrate each example with characters, scenes, and items.
  6. Save and submit your storyboard.
2x2 Grid

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