full transcript

From the Ted Talk by Amy Adkins: The myth of Icarus and Daedalus

Unscramble the Blue Letters

In mhtigloocayl ancient Greece, soaring above Crete on wigns made from wax and feathers, Icarus, the son of Daedalus, defied the laws of both man and nature. Ignoring the warnings of his fhtear, he rose higher and higher. To wtinesses on the ground, he looked like a god, and as he peered down from above, he felt like one, too. But, in mythological ancient Greece, the line that separated god from man was absolute and the punishment for moaltrs who attempted to cross it was seevre. Such was the case for Icarus and Daedalus. Years before Icarus was born, his father Daedalus was highly regarded as a genius inventor, castmarfn, and sculptor in his homeland of aehtns. He invented carpentry and all the tools used for it. He designed the first bathhouse and the first dance floor. He made sculptures so lifelike that Hercules misootk them for actual men. Though skilled and creaeltbed, Daedalus was etoicagitsl and juaeols. Worried that his nephew was a more skillful craftsman, Daedalus murdered him. As pehnmiusnt, Daedalus was banished from Athens and made his way to Crete. Preceded by his storied reputation, Daedalus was welcomed with open arms by Crete's King mnios. There, acting as the palace tncehcial avdoisr, Daedalus continued to push the boundaries. For the king's children, he made mechanically aainmetd toys that seemed alive. He invented the ship's sail and mast, which gave humans control over the wind. With every coiaretn, Daedalus challenged human limitations that had so far kept mortals separate from gods, until finally, he broke right through. King Minos's wife, Pasiphaë, had been cursed by the god Poseidon to fall in love with the king's prized bull. Under this spell, she asked Daedalus to help her seduce it. With characteristic audacity, he agreed. Daedalus constructed a hollow wooden cow so realistic that it fooled the bull. With Pasiphaë hiding inside Daedalus's creation, she conceived and gave birth to the half-human half-bull minotaur. This, of course, eranegd the king who blamed Daedalus for enabling such a horrible prvreesoin of natural law. As punishment, Daedalus was forced to construct an inescapable labyrinth beneath the palace for the minotaur. When it was finished, Minos then imprisoned Daedalus and his only son Icarus within the top of the tallest tower on the island where they were to rmiaen for the rest of their lives. But dlaeduas was still a genius inventor. While observing the birds that circled his prison, the means for escape became clear. He and Icarus would fly away from their poirsn as only bdirs or gods could do. Using feathers from the flocks that perched on the tower, and the wax from candles, Daedalus constructed two piras of giant wings. As he strapped the wings to his son Icarus, he gave a warning: flying too near the ocean would deapmn the wings and make them too hvaey to use. fnyilg too near the sun, the heat would melt the wax and the wings would disintegrate. In either case, they surely would die. Therefore, the key to their escape would be in keeping to the middle. With the instructions clear, both men leapt from the tower. They were the first mortals ever to fly. While Daedalus sayetd carefully to the mawdiy course, iarucs was overwhelmed with the ecstasy of flghit and overcome with the feeling of dniive power that came with it. Daedalus could only watch in horror as Icarus ascended higher and hihger, powerless to change his son's dire fate. When the heat from the sun melted the wax on his wings, Icarus fell from the sky. Just as Daedalus had many times ignored the coesnncqeeus of defying the natarul laws of mortal men in the service of his ego, Icarus was also cairerd away by his own hubris. In the end, both men paid for their departure from the path of moderation dearly, Icarus with his life and Daedalus with his regret.

Open Cloze

In ____________ ancient Greece, soaring above Crete on _____ made from wax and feathers, Icarus, the son of Daedalus, defied the laws of both man and nature. Ignoring the warnings of his ______, he rose higher and higher. To _________ on the ground, he looked like a god, and as he peered down from above, he felt like one, too. But, in mythological ancient Greece, the line that separated god from man was absolute and the punishment for _______ who attempted to cross it was ______. Such was the case for Icarus and Daedalus. Years before Icarus was born, his father Daedalus was highly regarded as a genius inventor, _________, and sculptor in his homeland of ______. He invented carpentry and all the tools used for it. He designed the first bathhouse and the first dance floor. He made sculptures so lifelike that Hercules _______ them for actual men. Though skilled and __________, Daedalus was ___________ and _______. Worried that his nephew was a more skillful craftsman, Daedalus murdered him. As __________, Daedalus was banished from Athens and made his way to Crete. Preceded by his storied reputation, Daedalus was welcomed with open arms by Crete's King _____. There, acting as the palace _________ _______, Daedalus continued to push the boundaries. For the king's children, he made mechanically ________ toys that seemed alive. He invented the ship's sail and mast, which gave humans control over the wind. With every ________, Daedalus challenged human limitations that had so far kept mortals separate from gods, until finally, he broke right through. King Minos's wife, Pasiphaë, had been cursed by the god Poseidon to fall in love with the king's prized bull. Under this spell, she asked Daedalus to help her seduce it. With characteristic audacity, he agreed. Daedalus constructed a hollow wooden cow so realistic that it fooled the bull. With Pasiphaë hiding inside Daedalus's creation, she conceived and gave birth to the half-human half-bull minotaur. This, of course, _______ the king who blamed Daedalus for enabling such a horrible __________ of natural law. As punishment, Daedalus was forced to construct an inescapable labyrinth beneath the palace for the minotaur. When it was finished, Minos then imprisoned Daedalus and his only son Icarus within the top of the tallest tower on the island where they were to ______ for the rest of their lives. But ________ was still a genius inventor. While observing the birds that circled his prison, the means for escape became clear. He and Icarus would fly away from their ______ as only _____ or gods could do. Using feathers from the flocks that perched on the tower, and the wax from candles, Daedalus constructed two _____ of giant wings. As he strapped the wings to his son Icarus, he gave a warning: flying too near the ocean would ______ the wings and make them too _____ to use. ______ too near the sun, the heat would melt the wax and the wings would disintegrate. In either case, they surely would die. Therefore, the key to their escape would be in keeping to the middle. With the instructions clear, both men leapt from the tower. They were the first mortals ever to fly. While Daedalus ______ carefully to the ______ course, ______ was overwhelmed with the ecstasy of ______ and overcome with the feeling of ______ power that came with it. Daedalus could only watch in horror as Icarus ascended higher and ______, powerless to change his son's dire fate. When the heat from the sun melted the wax on his wings, Icarus fell from the sky. Just as Daedalus had many times ignored the ____________ of defying the _______ laws of mortal men in the service of his ego, Icarus was also _______ away by his own hubris. In the end, both men paid for their departure from the path of moderation dearly, Icarus with his life and Daedalus with his regret.

Solution

  1. wings
  2. mythological
  3. prison
  4. carried
  5. birds
  6. icarus
  7. minos
  8. flight
  9. severe
  10. natural
  11. creation
  12. dampen
  13. remain
  14. jealous
  15. mistook
  16. egotistical
  17. animated
  18. athens
  19. flying
  20. stayed
  21. pairs
  22. enraged
  23. daedalus
  24. technical
  25. mortals
  26. higher
  27. celebrated
  28. midway
  29. divine
  30. heavy
  31. witnesses
  32. consequences
  33. punishment
  34. perversion
  35. father
  36. craftsman
  37. advisor

Original Text

In mythological ancient Greece, soaring above Crete on wings made from wax and feathers, Icarus, the son of Daedalus, defied the laws of both man and nature. Ignoring the warnings of his father, he rose higher and higher. To witnesses on the ground, he looked like a god, and as he peered down from above, he felt like one, too. But, in mythological ancient Greece, the line that separated god from man was absolute and the punishment for mortals who attempted to cross it was severe. Such was the case for Icarus and Daedalus. Years before Icarus was born, his father Daedalus was highly regarded as a genius inventor, craftsman, and sculptor in his homeland of Athens. He invented carpentry and all the tools used for it. He designed the first bathhouse and the first dance floor. He made sculptures so lifelike that Hercules mistook them for actual men. Though skilled and celebrated, Daedalus was egotistical and jealous. Worried that his nephew was a more skillful craftsman, Daedalus murdered him. As punishment, Daedalus was banished from Athens and made his way to Crete. Preceded by his storied reputation, Daedalus was welcomed with open arms by Crete's King Minos. There, acting as the palace technical advisor, Daedalus continued to push the boundaries. For the king's children, he made mechanically animated toys that seemed alive. He invented the ship's sail and mast, which gave humans control over the wind. With every creation, Daedalus challenged human limitations that had so far kept mortals separate from gods, until finally, he broke right through. King Minos's wife, Pasiphaë, had been cursed by the god Poseidon to fall in love with the king's prized bull. Under this spell, she asked Daedalus to help her seduce it. With characteristic audacity, he agreed. Daedalus constructed a hollow wooden cow so realistic that it fooled the bull. With Pasiphaë hiding inside Daedalus's creation, she conceived and gave birth to the half-human half-bull minotaur. This, of course, enraged the king who blamed Daedalus for enabling such a horrible perversion of natural law. As punishment, Daedalus was forced to construct an inescapable labyrinth beneath the palace for the minotaur. When it was finished, Minos then imprisoned Daedalus and his only son Icarus within the top of the tallest tower on the island where they were to remain for the rest of their lives. But Daedalus was still a genius inventor. While observing the birds that circled his prison, the means for escape became clear. He and Icarus would fly away from their prison as only birds or gods could do. Using feathers from the flocks that perched on the tower, and the wax from candles, Daedalus constructed two pairs of giant wings. As he strapped the wings to his son Icarus, he gave a warning: flying too near the ocean would dampen the wings and make them too heavy to use. Flying too near the sun, the heat would melt the wax and the wings would disintegrate. In either case, they surely would die. Therefore, the key to their escape would be in keeping to the middle. With the instructions clear, both men leapt from the tower. They were the first mortals ever to fly. While Daedalus stayed carefully to the midway course, Icarus was overwhelmed with the ecstasy of flight and overcome with the feeling of divine power that came with it. Daedalus could only watch in horror as Icarus ascended higher and higher, powerless to change his son's dire fate. When the heat from the sun melted the wax on his wings, Icarus fell from the sky. Just as Daedalus had many times ignored the consequences of defying the natural laws of mortal men in the service of his ego, Icarus was also carried away by his own hubris. In the end, both men paid for their departure from the path of moderation dearly, Icarus with his life and Daedalus with his regret.

Frequently Occurring Word Combinations

ngrams of length 2

collocation frequency
mythological ancient 2
daedalus constructed 2

Important Words

  1. absolute
  2. acting
  3. actual
  4. advisor
  5. agreed
  6. alive
  7. ancient
  8. animated
  9. arms
  10. ascended
  11. asked
  12. athens
  13. attempted
  14. audacity
  15. banished
  16. bathhouse
  17. beneath
  18. birds
  19. birth
  20. blamed
  21. born
  22. boundaries
  23. broke
  24. bull
  25. candles
  26. carefully
  27. carpentry
  28. carried
  29. case
  30. celebrated
  31. challenged
  32. change
  33. characteristic
  34. children
  35. circled
  36. clear
  37. conceived
  38. consequences
  39. construct
  40. constructed
  41. continued
  42. control
  43. cow
  44. craftsman
  45. creation
  46. crete
  47. cross
  48. cursed
  49. daedalus
  50. dampen
  51. dance
  52. dearly
  53. defied
  54. defying
  55. departure
  56. designed
  57. die
  58. dire
  59. disintegrate
  60. divine
  61. ecstasy
  62. ego
  63. egotistical
  64. enabling
  65. enraged
  66. escape
  67. fall
  68. fate
  69. father
  70. feathers
  71. feeling
  72. fell
  73. felt
  74. finally
  75. finished
  76. flight
  77. flocks
  78. floor
  79. fly
  80. flying
  81. fooled
  82. forced
  83. gave
  84. genius
  85. giant
  86. god
  87. gods
  88. greece
  89. ground
  90. heat
  91. heavy
  92. hercules
  93. hiding
  94. higher
  95. highly
  96. hollow
  97. homeland
  98. horrible
  99. horror
  100. hubris
  101. human
  102. humans
  103. icarus
  104. ignoring
  105. imprisoned
  106. inescapable
  107. instructions
  108. invented
  109. inventor
  110. island
  111. jealous
  112. keeping
  113. key
  114. king
  115. labyrinth
  116. law
  117. laws
  118. leapt
  119. life
  120. lifelike
  121. limitations
  122. line
  123. lives
  124. looked
  125. love
  126. man
  127. mast
  128. means
  129. mechanically
  130. melt
  131. melted
  132. men
  133. middle
  134. midway
  135. minos
  136. minotaur
  137. mistook
  138. moderation
  139. mortal
  140. mortals
  141. murdered
  142. mythological
  143. natural
  144. nature
  145. nephew
  146. observing
  147. ocean
  148. open
  149. overcome
  150. overwhelmed
  151. paid
  152. pairs
  153. palace
  154. pasiphaë
  155. path
  156. peered
  157. perched
  158. perversion
  159. poseidon
  160. power
  161. powerless
  162. preceded
  163. prison
  164. prized
  165. punishment
  166. push
  167. realistic
  168. regarded
  169. regret
  170. remain
  171. reputation
  172. rest
  173. rose
  174. sail
  175. sculptor
  176. sculptures
  177. seduce
  178. separate
  179. separated
  180. service
  181. severe
  182. skilled
  183. skillful
  184. sky
  185. soaring
  186. son
  187. spell
  188. stayed
  189. storied
  190. strapped
  191. sun
  192. surely
  193. tallest
  194. technical
  195. times
  196. tools
  197. top
  198. tower
  199. toys
  200. warnings
  201. watch
  202. wax
  203. welcomed
  204. wife
  205. wind
  206. wings
  207. witnesses
  208. wooden
  209. worried
  210. years