Plato's Allegory Of The Cave

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Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, is one of most well-known aims at explaining the nature of reality. The ‘cave’ represents the knowledge of most human beings and the life outside the cave is the metaphor for true understanding; simply put, Plato contrasts true knowledge with that of common opinion. Simultaneously, his work is used to illustrate “our nature in its education and want of education.” Published as the seventh book in The Republic, it is often considered Plato’s attempt to explain the effects of education on the human soul through a fictional dialogue between his teacher, Socrates, and his brother, Glaucon. Socrates begins by describing a group of people who chained in a cave who can do nothing but look straight ahead. Behind…show more content…
While an initial period of pain and confusion ensues, the prisoner soon realizes that these statues are far more real than the shadows he has gotten so used to. He begins to see how the statues and fire caused the shadows to appear on the wall. He believes that the fire and the statues are real, but he has yet to realize that there is even more to discover beyond the cave. The prisoner is then dragged out of the cave and into the real world. Initially, he is so astounded by the light that he cannot look at anything except the shadows. Slowly, he turns his gaze to the reflections of real objects, then at the objects themselves. The prisoner finally reaches a stage of thought where he is exposed to the entirety of the world around him. Although he cannot understand it all, he accepts it as real and true in an attempt to understand. The prisoner goes through several stages of thought, much like man must go through several stages of thought before he is able to reach the highest stage of knowledge. Everyone must begin at the lowest level: imagination, before they are able to gradually move higher. Based on Plato’s Allegory, it can be said that education is the route by which to ‘move out of the cave,’ or the most primitive form of

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