Comparison: Allegory of the Cave and the Myth of the Metals

1171 WordsNov 4, 20125 Pages
Allegory to Myth In the Republic, Plato uses reason to model the ultimate form of civilization where everyone achieves his/her human potential. This should not be confused with individual equality, for Plato sees a harmonious and virtuous community where citizens are under a hierarchy and working together for the greater good of the state. The question, however, remains: How does one achieve Plato’s ideal state when there is evil and deception in the world? In answering this question, Plato puts forth two arguments: an allegory to describe the complexities and necessities of reality, and a royal lie to carry out the ideal form of civilization. In this paper, I argue Plato’s Allegory of the Cave justifies the need for a royal lie found in…show more content…
Thus, what the philosopher knows cannot be transmitted to the cave dwellers in a simple manner. Since the cave dwellers neither see the way to a good life nor are capable of getting there, the philosopher must create a royal lie such as the Myth of the Metals to the communicate with the non-philosopher. In the Myth of the Metals, people are born with gold, silver, or bronze. These metals determine the role each individual will carry out in their state; gold being guardian or governing body, silver being auxiliary or soldier, and bronze being the working class. Because Plato believes everyone is different in nature, it serves as the justification for the Myth of the Metals where the essential parts of society are assigned to individuals at birth. By placing individuals to their highest natural aptitude (guardian, soldier, and worker) they are able to reach human potential and represent the ideal state. This, Plato suggests, is the philosopher’s best method of prescribing a common belief structure within the cave, and more importantly the royal lie to communicate with the non-philosopher. Although a royal lie may seem a true lie, what distinguishes them is that a true lie is meant to harm, while a royal lie is intended for the good of society. In comparison to a tyrant

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