Icarus Tattoos: Guide To The Tragic Meaning

Most people have at least a vague understanding of the story of Icarus — the greek character who famously flew too close to the sun.

Such a dramatic character would make a great tattoo, right?

Well, the image of a winged man soaring towards a fiery ball of flame would certainly make for a striking tattoo, it is always important to fully understand a design’s nuanced meanings and symbolism before getting inked.

In this article, we will help you better understand the meaning and symbolism associated with an Icarus tattoo, so you can truly decide if this tragic character is the tattoo for you.

The Tragic Story Of Icarus

Icarus is one of the most famous Greek myths.

The story goes that Icarus was imprisoned on an island with his father, Daedalus.

Daedalus was a master craftsman, and he used his skills to fashion a pair of wings from wax.

He warned his son not to fly too close to the sun, but Icarus became overexcited and flew too close, the heat melting his wings — sending him tumbling into the sea to drown.

The story of Icarus is often interpreted as a cautionary tale about the dangers of overreaching.

However, it can also be seen as a story about the power of hope and imagination.

Even in the face of great danger, Icarus chose to soar towards the sun.

For that moment, at least, he was free.

Icarus famously flew too close to the sun.

What Does An Icarus Tattoo Represent?

At face value, the myth of Icarus may seem one-dimensional — making for a simple tattoo.

However, the story has more nuance than some may realize, meaning that an Icarus tattoo can represent more than just a cautionary tale.

Here are some of the concepts that an Icarus tattoo can represent.

A Reminder Not To Overreach

The story of Icarus is often seen as a cautionary tale about the dangers of overreaching.

For many people, an Icarus tattoo serves as a reminder not to get too cocky or take unnecessary risks.

This idea can be extrapolated on, reminding its wearer to be satisfied and thankful for what they currently possess.

While it is always positive to dream, being thankful for what you have is sure to lead to a happier, more fulfilled life.

A Reminder Not To Be Reckless

The story of Icarus is also a reminder that even with the best of intentions, things can still go wrong.

After all, Icarus just wanted to be free, but parished because he did not heed his father’s warnings.

Sometimes, all it takes is a moment of recklessness to cause irreparable harm.

With this in mind, an Icarus tattoo can remind you to stay grounded, to avoid reckless behaviour, and to think before acting.

The Cost Of Freedom

Icarus was confined to an island.

When he was given wings, he was also given freedom but flew too close to the sun.

This can be interpreted as the cost of freedom.

We all want freedom, but at what cost?

While the story of Icarus certainly is tragic, there is no denying that young Icarus’ hope and imagination are admirable.

Hope & Imagination

Many of us can probably relate to Icarus’ childlike desire to fly higher and higher without concern for consequences.

Whether living your life like that is a good idea is up for debate. However, it is important to remember to dream and maintain your hope and imagination.

The story of Icarus has more nuance than some may realize, meaning that an Icarus tattoo can represent more than just a cautionary tale.

Who Should Get An Icarus Tattoo?

The story of Icarus can be interpeted in many ways, but that doesn’t mean that an Icarus tattoo is for everyone.

Here are some examples of people who could benefit from an Icarus tattoo…


Those who live life with their head in the sky could likely benefit from the reminders that an Icarus tattoo could bring.

After all, the tale of Icarus tells us that while dreaming is great, staying grounded is just as important.

Impulsive People

Icarus was clearly an impulsive fellow. Despite his father’s warnings, the young man flew too close to the sun.

If you can relate to acting without concern for consequences, then you may want to consider getting an Icarus tattoo.

Having Icarus inked onto your skin as a permanent reminder to think first could save you future grief.

Overly Ambitious People

In the myth, Icarus flew higher and higher as if nothing could go wrong. He was the definition of overly ambitious.

Ambition is important, and can be a very positive trait. However, too much ambition can give you blinders — forcing you to ignore the other important things around you.

If you are overly ambitious, then an Icarus tattoo could be a reminder you need to slow down and consider your actions.

Icarus Tattoo Ideas

An Icarus tattoo is the perfect way to commemorate these themes while also paying tribute to Greek mythology.

There are endless ways to interpret this iconic story, so take some time to explore different designs and find one that speaks to you.

You may just end up with a tattoo that’s as unique as it is meaningful.

Here are some ideas.

Icarus Dreaming Tattoo

This design depicts Icarus, not in flight, but standing on the ground — dreaming of flight as he gazes up at the sun.

Icarus Flying Tattoo

This design features Icarus in mid-flight, one feather falling to the ground to illustrate his wings melting as he nears the hot sun.

Icarus Falling Tattoo

This design shows the tragic moment after Icarus’ wings melted and he began falling towards the sea.

Icarus Falling With One Demon Wing Tattoo

This design shows Icarus falling — with a twist. This tattoo gives the character one demon wing, perhaps to symbolize some sort of duality.

Icarus Falling With Added Symbols Tattoo

This design is another “Icarus falling” tattoo. However, this design adds extra imagery for more visual interest.

Final Thoughts On Icarus Tattoos

The story of Icarus has been told and retold for centuries, and his tragic tale is a lesson to all.

Whether you are a reckless indivudual getting an Icarus tattoo as a reminder to stay grounded or simply because you appreciate the sad myth, an Icarus tattoo is a safe choice for those looking for epic ink.