The Allegory of the Cave by Plato

916 WordsFeb 24, 20184 Pages
The “Allegory of the Cave” by Plato represents the differences in the way we perceive reality and what we believe is real. In his story, Plato starts by saying that in a cave, there are prisoners chained down and are forced to look at a wall. The prisoners are unable to turn their heads to see what is going on behind them and are completely bound to the floor. Behind the prisoners, puppeteers hide and cast shadows on the wall in line with the prisoners’ sight, thus giving the prisoners their only sense of reality. What happens in the passage is not told from the prisoners’ point of view but is actually a conversation held between Socrates and Glaucon (Plato’s brother). As Socrates is describing the cave and the situation, he stresses the point that the prisoners are completely oblivious as to what is reality as they would know nothing but the shadows casted by items held by the puppeteers, and believe this to be their own reality. This is important to the story as it shows that what we believe is real from the moment we are born is completely wrong based on our own flawed interpretations of reality. The point so far is that it is not what we can see but what we can’t see is what grasps our minds and Plato describes this thinking as “imagination.” Once one of the prisoner’s is released, he is forced to look at the fire and the objects that once made up his perceived reality, and realizes that the new images he is made to acknowledge are now the accepted forms of reality.

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