WORKSHEET FOR PLATO'S ALLEGORY OF THE CAVE
(See pp. 326-327 at back of textbook for this reading.)
PART I - Listed below are items from the Allegory which have symbolic meaning. Explain what each stands for or symbolizes in the story, being mindful of Plato's belief in two different realms (or worlds) of knowledge—the physical and spiritual—and the different types of truth/Truth that exist in each realm.
a) The world around us
b) regular people
c) Things we perceive as real
d) things that cloud our vision
e) an enlightened way of thinking
f) what is actually real
g) Enlightened philosophers such as Socrates
PART II – Answer each of the following questions in complete sentences.
1. Socrates refers to the prisoners as “just like ourselves” because he and Glaucon both had, at some point in time, been a “prisoner” to knowledge. They had both originally been closed-minded, but they became enlightened with time. 2. The prisoner has to be drug out of the cave because at first, the light was so bright it hurt his eyes, so he returned to what he was familiar with. This experience is a symbol that shows you must go beyond what you are comfortable with in order to become accustomed to a new, enlightened way of thinking. 3. The blindness upon returning to the cave represents the inability to go back to an un-enlightened way of thinking. Here, Socrates is saying that once you get on that higher plane of knowledge, you can no longer think like an ordinary person.
4. Socrates first says that after re-entering the cave, the man would be blinded by darkness and again become disoriented; just as he did upon leaving the cave. The other prisoners would see him as disoriented or damaged from the trip into the light, and would kill him, as he interfered with the only way of life they knew.
2. The Socratic Method of teaching is similar to our education in that it invokes the participation of the student. It is