Dr. Mishra – College Writing I
“Allegory of the Cave”
“Allegory of the Cave”, written by Plato, is story that contrasts the differences between what is real and what is perceived. He opens with Glaucon talking to Socrates. He has Glaucon imagine what it would be like to be chained down in a cave, not able to see anything other than what is in front of him. He tells a story of men that were trapped in a cave and were prisoners to the truth. These prisoners have only seen shadows. But because of their ignorance, these slaves to the cave believe that the shadows are real. The story goes on to say that one of the men has been dragged out of the cave. He is not happy to see the real world, yet upset because he is being taken away from all that he knows. As he approaches the outside, he is blinded by the sunlight that he has never seen. The sunlight can be interpreted as actual sun or as knowledge, making the journey rather painful in mental and physical ways. The prisoner wants to return to his life as a peasant inside of the cave. When he is outside of the cave, he only wants to look at shadows and reflections, but later proceeds to look at actual objects surrounding him. Lastly, he looks at the sun itself, as he realizes that is what created this beautiful nature. The climax of the story is when the ma realized that he no longer has to worry about reality and reasoning, because he achieved the understanding of it. Eventually, he goes back to the cave. He is not greeted nicely back at the cave because he is seen to have taken a meaningless trip. The man who had seen the outside world took it upon himself to teach the others and lead them into understanding the truth of reality. The story finished by Socrates saying that the most qualified and wise people are the best options for leading in government, like the prisoner who discovered truth.
Throughout the reading of this symbolic narrative, I found it easy to relate to my own life. This story can...