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Flight To The Sun Essay

802 words - 4 pages

Many seek out the true secret to living the perfect life at some point. C.P. Cavafy’s “Ithaca” and Jack Gilbert’s “Failing and Falling” hint at their own ideas concerning living fully. “Ithaca,” a Hellenistic poem, alludes to Homer’s Greek epic the Odyssey, pertaining to Odysseus’s ten year journey home to Ithaca. Similar to “Ithaca,” “Failing and Flying” alludes to Icarus, another mythological Greek figure. Icarus flies with wings of wax and feathers and, despite his father’s warning, soars to the sun where he then falls and dies in the sea. While both poems expose the importance of raw experience to fully live, “Ithaca” emphasizes an unhurried adventure of life while “Failing and Flying” highlights living passionately, despite other’s pessimistic views, as life will ultimately end.
Cavafy’s “Ithaca” advises a traveler on the extensive journey to Ithaca, providing suggested steps to a well-lived life. It reveals that one should pursue many experiences in life to grow “wealthy with all [one has] gained on the way” (30), including “fine things,…sensual perfumes” (19, 21) and wisdom. This wealth may relate to grasping beauty as the opportunities appear and making the most of these gifts. Cavafy express that these luxuries compose part of the enjoyment sought after and add another layer to the richness of one’s life. in addition, “Ithaca” indicates that one will not encounter “Laistrygonians, Cyclops, [and] wild Poseidon” (10-12) unless one brings “them along inside” (12). The monsters, alluding to the troubles Odysseus faces along his travels, reveal that one will not encounter internal troubles if optimistic thoughts and an excited spirit persist in one’s mind and actions. Through his optimistic tone, Cavafy expresses maintaining a positive outlook on life. Cavafy also expresses the importance of unhurriedly traversing through life, as it is the journey along the way that is significant. Throughout life, one should “pray that [one’s] road is a long one, full of adventure, full of discovery” (2-3). This exemplifies that the acquired experiences and memories fully complete an unrushed and whole life.
The concept regarding the ideals for a well-lived life is similarly found in Jack Gilbert’s “Failing and Flying,” but with several dissimilarities. Icarus’ brave ambition and dream are related in a varying context within “Failing and Flying,” in which Gilbert encourages the reader to fully grasp and experience life, as is done in “Ithaca.” ...

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