The Descent

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Kristofer Catoe
Justin Yates
ENG 1213
April 15, 2013

One man breaks free of the binding chains of society while the rest of the population draws contentment from the many adventures of select shadow puppets. Government in general is a powerful entity that relentlessly grasps the masses and subjects them to their every whim. Society is often unaware of these chains and is blindly forced into this manner of living. Henry David Thoreau’s “A Civil Disobedience” illustrates how most men have rendered their conscious useless by continuing to adhere to every aspect of their ruling entity. Paralleling Thoreau’s idea of a binding government we have Plato’s “An Allegory of the Cave” describing how men simply accept one reality, illustrated by their governors, and never seek out any other meaning. Henry David Thoreau and Plato fundamentally agree that people must live according to the scrutiny of their conscious. In order to live in this manner people must be willing to break their chains and disobey authority when they realize that it is wrong. There are three specific aspects these two individual’s focus on in their literary works: the problems with the level of control the government has of the governed, the necessity to break free of such control, and how only the individual has the power to break away.

Throughout history the government has been the Supreme Being regarding the control of the people. They implement laws, control the media and determine where and how their people will live. Henry David Thoreau recognizes that the government has an overly substantial amount of control over the population and maintains that such control should be undesirable. He brings light to the fact that very few people are resisting such control and that “a minority is powerless while it conforms to the majority” (Thoreau 1056). Plato illustrates this control in “An Allegory of the Cave” by using his innate ability to construct vivid imagery. Representing the government, the...
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