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The story of Icarus involves a bargain in which Icarus gets wings made of feathers and beeswax
but is warned tot to fly too close to the sun. Icarus does and plunges to his death. Similarly
Faust strikes a bargain but overreaches the extent of his powers and also, metaphorically,
comes crashing down. At the beginning of the play, the chorus describes Faustus’s “waxen
wings” that “did mount above his reach” and the “melting heavens [that] conspired his
overthrow.” The chorus is alluding to Icarus, son of the famous craftsman Daedalus. Daedalus
and Icarus are imprisoned in Crete by King Minos, who wants to keep Daedelus’s latest
creation—the Minoan Labyrinth—a secret. To facilitate their escape, Daedalus fashions two sets of wings out of wax and feathers. As they fly to freedom, Icarus soars so high that the sun melts
his wings, and he falls and drowns. By comparing Doctor Faustus to Icarus, the chorus
suggests that Doctor Faustus exhibits a similar hubris that leads to his own downfall.


Original text

The story of Icarus involves a bargain in which Icarus gets wings made of feathers and beeswax
but is warned tot to fly too close to the sun. Icarus does and plunges to his death. Similarly
Faust strikes a bargain but overreaches the extent of his powers and also, metaphorically,
comes crashing down. At the beginning of the play, the chorus describes Faustus’s “waxen
wings” that “did mount above his reach” and the “melting heavens [that] conspired his
overthrow.” The chorus is alluding to Icarus, son of the famous craftsman Daedalus. Daedalus
and Icarus are imprisoned in Crete by King Minos, who wants to keep Daedelus’s latest
creation—the Minoan Labyrinth—a secret. To facilitate their escape, Daedalus fashions two sets of wings out of wax and feathers. As they fly to freedom, Icarus soars so high that the sun melts
his wings, and he falls and drowns. By comparing Doctor Faustus to Icarus, the chorus
suggests that Doctor Faustus exhibits a similar hubris that leads to his own downfall.

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