Plato's Theory Of The Divided Line Analysis

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On pages 46-53, A back and forth discussion between Glaucon (Plato’s brother and student of Socrates) and Socrates is presented. This discussion is taken from “Plato’s dialogue Republic” (page 46). At the beginning of this discussion, Socrates describes to Glaucon Plato’s Theory of the Divided Line. He does this by making a comparison between the importance of the sun’s light and the soul. The sun’s light allows us to see and without it “sight will see nothing, and the color will remain invisible in the absence of a third peculiarly constituted to serve this very purpose” (Page 47). Similarly, the soul holds the key to true knowledge and without it, we would be left with only “opinions and beliefs which shift to and fro” (page 47). After he…show more content…
He describes a group of men who have been chained up in a cave since childhood and are completely unable to move. They are faced towards one of the cave walls and behind them are people throwing shadows of different animals and objects on the wall using a fire that sits behind the prisoners. The prisoners are unaware of the fire and can only see the shadows in front of them. Thus, they consider these shadows to be their reality. The prisoners represent people stuck in their belief and opinion, as they are in the Visible World and consider what is not truly real, a reality. Socrates goes on to describe one prisoner being set free and told that what he previously knew as reality was just an illusion. However, because the prisoner only knew of the shadows, he was skeptical of this new information even though it was completely proven and true. Once he gradually accepted this new information and was taken out of the cave to see the sun, he felt bad for the other prisoners who were living in a hellish state of illusion and imprisonment. Yet, if he were to try to help “set them free and lead them up, they would kill” because as far as they know, he is the one who does not know of reality (page 51). The prisoner who was set free had begun to reach the intelligible world through thinking and knowledge. In summary, this parable was trying to explain the Divided…show more content…
Furthermore, he was a strong believer in factual evidence and saw mathematics as the only true way to gain knowledge about truth and reality. Therefore, he puts Intelligence at the top of his Theory of the Divided Line and Imagining at the bottom. It is a hierarchal order of how to reach true enlightenment which first includes questioning your beliefs, opinions, and imagination through thinking which brings you closer to enlightenment and then finally achieving true enlightenment by gaining intelligence and knowledge about reality. Personally, I find Plato to be one of my favorite philosophers in the book so far. Also, I think the Theory of the Divided Line is a great way to teach people to question their beliefs and opinions. It has been the easiest theory to understand and I hope to teach it to my younger brother because I am sure that it would help him in his journey through

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