Plato's Analogy of the Cave

Topics: Mind, Truth, Metaphysics Pages: 3 (889 words) Published: March 12, 2014
Explain Plato’s Analogy of the Cave

Plato’s analogy of the cave begins with prisoner­s who are captured at birth and chained tightly in a cave with no natural daylight so they can only face and look at the wall in front of them. Since these prisoners have always been like this they know nothing else. They have limited knowledge to only what they can ‘see’ and oppose any other ideas. They are trapped like this and cannot go beyond the surface. The prisoners here are supposed to represent us. It is indeed we metaphorically chained in a cave and what we perceive as reality is the shadows puppeteered on the cave wall. We don’t know the real truth and we are happy to see what we see around us as the true reality. Due to this our souls are trapped within our bodies.

Behind the prisoners their captors build and light a fire so that any shadows caused will be shown on the wall the prisoners are chained to face. The captors make objects such as animals, people and machines. Whilst they impersonate these things they make noises whilst doing so this leads the prisoners to believe that these shadows in front of them are real objects when they in-fact are not at all real. The prisoners begin to name the shadows of not even real objects but shapes and models of them to continue to feed their delusion. Another explanation being that between the prisoners and fires there is a raised walkway. In which people go down and up carry items “including figures of men and animals made wood, stone and other materials”. Since the prisoner’s neck are tightened also by chains they cannot see the people walking through or the raised walkway. They continue to watch the shadows that are casted by there captors perceiving it as reality and unknowing they are just shadows. The echoes of the wall are just of the noise produced from the walkway. The shadows represent what we perceive as reality all around us. The things we see everyday such as other people, food, animals, computers are all...
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