Plato's Allegory of Cave

Only available on StudyMode
  • Topic: Allegory of the Cave, Truth, Glaucon
  • Pages : 9 (1808 words )
  • Download(s) : 83
  • Published : May 25, 2013
Open Document
Text Preview
lato's Allegory of the Cave

Throwing light on the most
unique and illuminating analogy in
the philosophy world, the Plato's
allegory of the cave, is an article
presented before you. Every one
has tried to interpret Plato's master allegory since ages and it is fascinating to learn the
numerous interpretations that it
can have. Regarded to be one of the most
influential works of the Greek
philosopher, Plato; the classic
book - The Republic is a brief
account of Plato's major
philosophical assumptions. Plato's allegory of the cave is an excerpt from the same book and
it is said to be an exceptional
portrayal of human condition.
Plato, in this excerpt has
presented a fictional dialog between Plato's teacher
Socrates and Plato's brother
Glaucon. It is this conversation
that leads to some timeless
wisdom and deep philosophical
interpretations. Since centuries philosophers, historians,
theologians, spiritual seekers,
logicians and sociologists have
been trying to dig deeper into
the myriads of interpretations
this single allegory has the potential to produce.

The Allegory of the Cave Explanation: Three Phases

*** Plato's allegory of cave can be
studied and critically analyzed in
three steps. The first one is
when Socrates discusses Glaucon
regarding the life of prisoners
inside the cave and their illusion of reality, the second is the case, if the same prisoners are
released from the cave and
lastly, he discusses the possibility
of the free prisoner returning of
the cave. Through this allegory, Plato tries to highlight the relative ignorance that the
humanity is accustomed to live
and is so addicted to it, that
even in the light of truth, the
ignorance seems secure, safe and it is difficult to tread other paths, that are guided by light
(truth).

### 1. Inside the Cave: Synopsis

In the beginning of the allegory,
Socrates asks Glaucon to imagine
a situation in which a cave is
inhabited by several prisoners. All
the prisoners have been chained
down since their childhood and it is impossible for them to even move a muscle. Not only the
arms, hands and legs of
prisoners are immobile, even
their heads have been fixed. All
they're able to do is to gaze in the front wall. Located behind the prisoners is a fire and
between the fire and prisoners
is a walkway. On this walkway,
people walk carrying figures of
different types of animals, men and other objects on their
heads. Owing to the fact that
the raised walkway is between
immobile prisoners and fire,
shadows of people walking along
the walkway are reflected on the rocks in front of the
prisoners. It is these rocks
where the gaze of prisoners is
fixed constantly, as they're
chained down completely.
Further, even the echoes heard due to the walking of people are perceived by prisoners as the
noise produced by shadows. In
the cave, the prisoners play
games and awarded honors
amongst themselves to those who are able to best guess the
next shadow reflecting on the
rock.
Interpretations According to Socrates, for
prisoners the shadow won't
merely be a reflection of reality.
It will indeed be a reality because
that is all they have seen since
their growing years. In life, we human beings have a similar conceited mentality or narrow
mindedness about beliefs, ideas
and thoughts. Most of us are
prisoners of our own self made
thoughts. What an individual perceives to be the truth and
reality may be a completely
different realm of reality for
another person. Socrates tries
to put emphasis on the fact that
we all suffer from relative ignorance. Society and its
members are generally blinded
by their own sets of beliefs and
ideologies. They rarely try to
observe the reality by being in
others shoes. Similarly, Socrates also wishes to highlight the fact that merely coming into this
world, attending college, getting
a job, marrying and later sending
our children to school might just
seem...
tracking img