Socrates' Analogy of the Cave Essay

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At the beginning of Book Seven, in an attempt to better describe the education of the philosopher Socrates begins to set up an analogy with an ascent and descent into “the cave”. In Socrates’ cave analogy there was a group of people who were from childhood held in a dimly lit underground cave. The people were kept there in bonds that were designed to allow them to only what was in front of them by depriving them of the ability to turn their heads around. Also present in Socrates’ cave was a certain wall or partition separating the prisoners from another group of people who simply walked along a path carrying statues shaped after all that of beings and occasionally uttering sounds as the others remained quiet. The shadows of the statues…show more content…
The final phase Socrates says the prisoner will go through will be his studying of the heavens by this point he believes the prisoner will be able to himself come up with conclusions regard the sun as “the source of the seasons and the years” (516c) and simply the cause for all he now sees and all he once saw. According to Socrates the prisoner will eventually recall the lifestyle and the people he left behind and began to feel a sense of pity for them but will cherish experience he has received on the surface. He says that if the prisoner were to ever return to the cave he would face the pain of having to readjust to the light in the cave and the ridicule of the prisoner who will see him as someone who has lost sight of the truth instead of the newly enlightened soul he is. It seems to me that Socrates has set up each part of this analogy to represent a separate part of the philosophers struggle toward truly becoming a philosopher and achieving the study of philosophy. The cave itself seems to represent the societal norms that will be forced upon the upcoming philosopher from birth. While the philosopher is being brought up knowing only one thing as the truth he must find the strength to break himself free of the chains that bind him to the non-philosophical souls of society and begin to question what is known as “truth”.
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