Above and behind the prisoners is a fire burning, the power source of the shadows. This is any institution supporting the men who deceive us. The government is supporting George Bush, and other politicians; it is the source of the ideas that are pushed upon us. The shadows on the wall are what the prisoners mistake for truth, reality, here in this world it is the actual ideas that the men advance on us.
2. Allegory of the Cave Essay
Going to war is a shadow we mistake for truth, and justice. Are we truly just in reacting with the actions we did, is eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth still relevant today? Most dont question this; they instead accept it as it is given to them.
Plato describes the Good as having power, energy, just as the sun has the power to warm our skin. He sees the Good as the source of beauty, right, reason, and truth.
The Good is courage and strength, values that provide dependable ground for moral conduct. In this world of shadows, the Good we experience is too a shadow of the true Good. We must break free from the chains of this world to experience the true ideals of the Good. Plato's cave is an allegory of the human condition: each of us a prisoner, until we can break free.
Allegory of the Cave Essay
We perceive reality through imperfect eyes, accepting this distorted illusion of reality without question. Accordingly, to break free, we must open our eyes and see the truth about the world around us. The truth is that we are prisoners of our own beliefs. The major elements Plato uses to tell the Allegory of the Cave can be represented in todays civilization. Stay with EssayChief! Once you place your order you will receive an email with the password.
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Sign up to our newsletter to receive a promo code. Receive discount. Check your email, discount code is already there. Academic Level. Estimated Date:. Estimated Price:. Order now. The allegory of the cave is one of the most famous passages in the history of Western philosophy.
In book seven of The Republic , Socrates tells Glaucon, who is his interlocutor, to imagine a group of prisoners who have been chained since they were children in an underground cave. Their hands, feet, and necks are chained so that they are unable to move. All they can see in front of them, for their entire lives, is the back wall of the cave.
Socrates says:. Some way off, behind and higher up, a fire is burning, and between the fire and the prisoners above them runs a road, in front of which a curtain wall has been built, like a screen at puppet shows between the operators and their audience, above which they show their puppets. So, there are men, who pass by the walkway and carry objects made of stone behind the curtain-wall, and they make sounds to go along with the objects. These objects are projected onto the back wall of the cave for the prisoners to see.
The prisoners come up with names for the objects; they are interpreting their world intelligible to them. Hence, it is almost as though the prisoners are watching a puppet show for their entire lives. This is what the prisoners think is real because this is all they have ever experienced; reality for them is a puppet show on the wall of a cave, created by shadows of objects and figures. Socrates goes on to say that one of the prisoners somehow breaks free of those chains.
Then he is forced to turn around and look at the fire, which represents enlightenment; recognising your ignorance. However, after his eyes adjust to the firelight, reluctantly and with great difficulty he is forced to progress out of the cave and into the sunlight, which is a painful process; this represents a different state of understanding.
Plato uses light as a metaphor for our understanding, and our ability to conceive of the truth. So the prisoner progressed past the realm of the firelight, and now into the realm of sunlight.
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The first thing he would find easiest to look at is the shadows, and then reflections of men and objects in the water, and then finally the prisoner is able to look at the sun itself which he realises is the source of the reflections. The prisoners do not want to be free because they are comfortable in their own ignorance, and they are hostile to people who want to give them more information. The people in the cave represent us as a society, and Plato is suggesting that we are the prisoners in the cave looking at only the shadows of things.
However, the cave also represents the state of humans; we all begin in the cave. Like the prisoners chained in the cave, each human being perceives a physical world that is but a poor imitation of a more real world.
Allegory of the Cave Essay
But every so often, one of the prisoners gets free from the shackles of sense experience, turns around, and sees the light! Plato uses the cave to symbolise a physical world; a world in which things are not always what they seem to be, and there is a lot more to it than people think there is.
The outside world is represented as the world of ideas, thoughts, and reality — by the world of Ideas, Plato is talking about the non-physical forms, and that these non-physical forms represent a higher, more accurate reality. This reality can only be accurately discerned through reason, not the physical senses. The process of progressing out of the cave is about getting educated and it is a difficult process; in fact it requires assistance and sometimes force.
Here Plato is implying that when getting an education there is a struggle involved.
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