Fly - Flies in Culture

Flies in Culture

Flies have been depicted in mythology and literature. In the Biblical fourth plague of Egypt, flies represent death and decay. Myiagros was a god in Greek mythology who chased away flies during the sacrifices to Zeus and Athena, and Zeus sent a fly to bite Pegasus, causing Bellerophon to fall back to Earth when he attempted to ride the winged steed to Mount Olympus. In the traditional Navajo religion, Big Fly is an important spirit being.

In the 15th-century trompe l'oeil painting Portrait of a Carthusian (1446) by Petrus Christus, a fly sits on a fake frame.

Emily Dickinson's 1855 poem "I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died" also makes reference to flies in the context of death. In fact, flies such as the genus Hydrotaea are used in forensic cases to determine time of death for corpses. In William Golding's 1954 novel Lord of the Flies, the fly is a symbol of the children involved.

In the 1958 science fiction film The Fly (and its 1986 remake), a scientist accidentally exchanges parts of his body with those of a fly.

Musical works that mention flies: Yoko Ono's 1971 album Fly, U2's 1991 song "The Fly", Wire's 1978 song "I Am The Fly", Alice in Chains album Jar of Flies, Dave Matthews's 2007 song "The Fly" and Béla Bartók's 1920s piano work "From the Diary of a Fly".

Damien Hirst's provocative 1990 artwork, titled A Thousand Years, featured a severed cow's head contained in a box with thousands of flies and a bug zapper, creating an entire life cycle within a glass box. In 2001 Dr. Garnet Hertz implanted a complete web server into a dead fly.

The ability of flies to cling to surfaces has also inspired the title of "Human Fly" for real and fictional stunt performers whose feats involve climbing buildings.

"If only I were a fly on the wall..." is a phrase used when one wishes they could have observed a scene in an omniscient point of view.

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Famous quotes containing the words flies in, flies and/or culture:

    There was never a revolution to equal it, and never a city more glorious than Petrograd, and for all that period of my life I lived another and braved the ice of winter and the summer flies in Vyborg while across my adopted country of the past, winds of the revolution blew their flame, and all of us suffered hunger while we drank at the wine of equality.
    Norman Mailer (b. 1923)

    People are inexterminable—like flies and bed-bugs. There will always be some that survive in cracks and crevices—that’s us.
    Robert Frost (1874–1963)

    ... good and evil appear to be joined in every culture at the spine.
    Flannery O’Connor (1925–1964)