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English Literature - Allegory of the Cave

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 568 words Published: 8th Mar 2016

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Allegory of the Cave

Plato’s representation of the cave in “Allegory of the Cave” Republic Book VII is shown as an analogy for the condition of mankind–for their being educated or dearth of it. In “Allegory of the Cave” Plato explains us clearly the way to take out some of its details: the cave is the place available to view or insight. The world outside the cave is the logical place; which is reachable to logic but not to insight; the voyage outside of the cave into daylight of the world is the soul’s inclination to the logical territory. (Valleau, Finnbogason, 341) The mentor’s job is to turn the souls around instead of inducing the knowledge into a soul that does not contain it. This reorganization of souls has working dimensions as well as mental ones.

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In “Allegory of the Cave” Glaucon believes that the cave is an odd image, and the people are weird prisoners. However, Socrates thinks that these people are just like us. Socrates believes that no doubt we are not actually chained and do not look powerlessly at shadows created by those intended to mislead us. Nonetheless, according to Plato many things regarding our state make the cave an appropriate image. The prisoners see the shadows and only, relic, likenesses of animals and people, shed these shadows.

Therefore, according to Plato, the prisoners are far away from truth or reality–however, they do not recognize this and would not accept it if the advise was given to these people. The prisoners would be temporarily deprived of sight and incapable to distinguish the objects that cast the shadows on the wall. (Valleau, Finnbogason, 349) If the prisoners were untied and asked to turn and face the flashing light, it would hurt their eyes, and they would perhaps prefer to return to their contented and known gloominess of the prison. (Plato, 253)

In the “Allegory of the Cave” Plato gives us a clearer view of the image drawn from the cave. Plato is of the opinion that the cave is the place that is reachable to insight. Furthermore, Plato differentiates between the perceptible realm and the logical realm, among things understood by perception and those understood by logic. (Plato, 259) The insight realm consists of common observable things; the logical realm consists of ideas. The chained prisoner or in other words, the ordinary unqualified person does not have any opportunity to reach to logical ideas. Indeed, a common person does not even have a clue that such a thing exists. Moreover, such a person has access to shadows of the perceptible instead of the perceptible things themselves. He might be able to recognize these shadows but still he would not know what to do next because his knowledge is inadequate. (Valleau, Finnbogason, 356) Thus in “Allegory of the Cave” Plato explains that the world exterior to the cave is the logical place reachable to rational but not insight. The things in the actual world are factual than the images in the cave, in view of the fact that they are the originals of which the images are similar.

Works Cited

Plato. The Republic. Book 7. Translated by Benjamin Jowett. New York: Vintage, 1991.


Valleau , Al; Finnbogason, Jack. The Nelson Introduction to Literature. Second Canadian Edition. Published by Nelson Education Ltd. 2004. ISBN/ISSN: 0176415505.


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