Season: 4, Episodes: 1, Faction: N/A
Daniel Faraday spoke to Mr. Hollister, a physics student of his just before being approached by Desmond.
4×05 – The Constant
Faraday berated the student’s work, insisting that he be “impressed”, but that the student was failing to impress him. Crestfallen, the student walked away as Desmond approached Faraday. (“The Constant”)
Related Character Images
Decoded Season 2, 4 & 5 Characters
Key Episode(s) to Decoding the Character
In Greek mythology, Daedalus (Latin, also Hellenized Latin Daedalos, Greek Daidalos (“cunning worker”), and Etruscan Taitale) was a skillful craftsman and artisan.
His parentage was supplied as a later addition to the mythos, providing him with a father in either Metion, Eupalamus or Palamaon, and a mother, either Alcippe, Athena, Iphinoe or Phrasimede. Daedalus had two sons: Icarus and Iapyx, along with a nephew, whose name is Perdix.
Athenians transferred Cretan Daedalus to make him Athenian-born, the grandson of the ancient king Erechtheus, who fled to Crete, having killed his nephew. Over time, other stories were told of Daedalus. In the nineteenth century, Thomas Bulfinch combined these into a single synoptic view of material which Andrew Stewart calls a “historically-intractable farrago of ‘evidence’, heavily tinged with Athenian cultural chauvinism”.
Daedalus is first mentioned by Homer as the creator of a wide dancing-ground for Ariadne. He also created the Labyrinth on Crete, in which the Minotaur (part man, part bull) was kept. In the story of the labyrinth Hellenes told, the Athenian hero Theseus is challenged to kill the Minotaur, finding his way with the help of Ariadne’s thread. Daedalus’ appearance in Homer is in an extended simile, “plainly not Homer’s invention,” Robin Lane Fox observes: “he is a point of comparison and so he belongs in stories which Homer’s audience already recognized.” In Bronze Age Crete, an inscription da-da-re-jo-de has been read as referring to a place at Knossos, and a place of worship.
In Homer’s language, objects which are daidala are finely crafted. They are mostly objects of armour, but fine bowls and furnishings are daidala, and on one occasion so are the “bronze-working” of “clasps, twisted brooches, earrings and necklaces” made by Hephaestus while cared for in secret by the goddesses of the sea.
Ignoring Homer, later writers envisaged the labyrinth as an edifice rather than a single dancing path to the center and out again, and gave it numberless winding passages and turns that opened into one another, seeming to have neither beginning nor end. Ovid, in his Metamorphoses, suggests that Daedalus constructed the Labyrinth so cunningly that he himself could barely escape it after he built it. Daedalus built the labyrinth for King Minos, who needed it to imprison his wife’s son the Minotaur. The story is told that Poseidon had given a white bull to Minos so that he might use it as a sacrifice. Instead, Minos kept it for himself; and in revenge, Poseidon made his wife Pasiphaë lust for the bull with the help of Aphrodite . For Pasiphaë, as Greek mythologers interpreted it, Daedalus also built a wooden cow so she could mate with the bull, for the Greeks imagined the Minoan bull of the sun to be an actual, earthly bull, the slaying of which later required a heroic effort by Theseus.
This story thus encourages others to consider the long-term consequences of their own inventions with great care, lest those inventions do more harm than good. As in the tale of Icarus’ wings, Daedalus is portrayed assisting in the creation of something that has subsequent negative consequences, in this case with his creation of the monstrous Minotaur’s almost impenetrable labyrinth which made slaying the beast an endeavour of legendary difficulty. Additionally, Daedalus’ legend evokes the virtue of humility as the Daedalean labyrinth was defeated by a simple ball of thread that its architect had ostensibly failed to consider.
Daedalus and his nephew
Daedalus was so proud of his achievements that he could not bear the idea of a rival. His sister had placed her son, named variously as Perdix, Talus, or Calos, under his charge to be taught the mechanical arts. He was an apt scholar and showed striking evidence of ingenuity. Walking on the seashore, he picked up the spine of a fish. According to Ovid, imitating it, he took a piece of iron and notched it on the edge, and thus invented the saw. He put two pieces of iron together, connecting them at one end with a rivet, and sharpening the other ends, and made a pair of compasses. Daedalus was so envious of his nephew’s accomplishments that he took an opportunity, when they were together one day on the Acropolis of Athens, to push him off. But Athena, who favors ingenuity, saw him falling and arrested his fate by changing him into a bird called after his name, perdix, the partridge. This bird does not build his nest in the trees, nor take lofty flights, but nestles in the hedges, and mindful of his fall, avoids high places. For this crime, Daedalus was tried and banished. To always remind Daedalus of his treachery, Athena branded him with an image of the bird, so that he would never forget the crime he committed.
Daedalus and Icarus
The most familiar literary telling explaining Daedalus’ wings is a late one, that of Ovid: in his Metamorphoses (VIII:183-235) Daedalus was shut up in a tower to prevent his knowledge of his Labyrinth from spreading to the public. He could not leave Crete by sea, as the king kept strict watch on all vessels, permitting none to sail without being carefully searched. Since Minos controlled the land and sea routes, Daedalus set to work to fabricate wings for himself and his young son Icarus. He tied feathers together, from smallest to largest so as to form an increasing surface. He secured the feathers at their midpoints with string and at their bases with wax, and gave the whole a gentle curvature like the wings of a bird. When the work was done, the artist, waving his wings, found himself buoyed upward and hung suspended, poising himself on the beaten air. He next equipped his son in the same manner, and taught him how to fly. When both were prepared for flight, Daedalus warned Icarus not to fly too high, because the heat of the sun would melt the wax, nor too low, because the sea foam would soak the feathers.
They had passed Samos, Delos and Lebynthos by the time the boy, forgetting himself, began to soar upward toward the sun. The blazing sun softened the wax which held the feathers together and they came off. Icarus fell into the sea and drowned. His father cried, bitterly lamenting his own arts, and called the land near the place where Icarus fell into the ocean Icaria in memory of his child.
An early image of winged Daedalus appears on an Etruscan jug of ca 630 BC found at Cerveteri, where a winged figure captioned Taitale appears on one side of the vessel, paired on the other side, uniquely, with Metaia, Medea: “its linking of these two mythical figures is unparalleled,” Robin Lane Fox observes: “The link was probably based on their wondrous, miraculous art. Magically, Daedalus could fly, and magically Medea was able to rejuvenate the old (the scene on the jug seems to show her doing just this)”. The image of Daedalus demonstrates that he was already well known in the West.