Philosophy can be interpreted in many different ways by many different people. Some choose to deny the true knowledge that philosophy brings to light, which can make a man ignorant and naïve. Philosophers take on the responsibility of sharing their knowledge with others, but truly grasping this knowledge requires accepting the wrong that one may have believed to be true and correct his whole life which goes against human nature. All human beings want to gain knowledge, but doing so may present the task of admitting personal mistakes and misconceptions. The Allegory of the Cave parallels Socrates’ struggle, as a philosopher, to enlighten the ignorant people in the world through his teachings of truth and happiness, only to be bitterly rejected by the ignorant skeptics of his time. It is human nature for human beings to reject change, which brings upon ignorance from lack of knowledge. Prisoners have been held captive in the cave “from their childhood, and having their legs and necks chained so that they cannot move, and can only see before them, being prevented by the chains from turning round their heads” (Jowett 316). These prisoners in the darkness of the cave represent all of the ignorant people that do not know anything other than what they have been told their whole lives. These people do not have opinions of their own, nor have they been given the opportunity to experience life for themselves because they have been told what to believe since they were born. Socrates says: “To them, I said, the truth would be literally nothing but the shadows of the images” (316). The shadows are the truth to these prisoners because that is all they know so far in their lives. They must speak only amongst themselves about what they have seen, giving names to the shadows, which are reality to them. These shadows are like the misconceptions and opinions the judges and all of the men who condemned Socrates had against him before they even heard his defense. Socrates’ trial was...
Cited: Jowett, Benjamin, trans. The Republic: The Allegory of the Cave. 1894.
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