plato Essay

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Discuss Plato’s Parable of the Cave.

Plato’s parable of the cave, also known as the “allegory of the cave, opulently describes beneficial metaphors and elaborate imagery about knowledge, ignorance, truth and lastly enlightenment.

The allegory of the cave appears at the beginning of Book VII of Plato’s The Republic, which in itself is principally a study of justice, government and leadership. In The Republic, Plato describes a cave containing individuals confined to the cave floor, bound by shackles. They are unable to move their heads and stare incessantly at the cave wall directly in front of them. The prisoners cannot see one another. Behind the prisoners burns a fire projecting images of objects, animals and individuals carrying
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The analogy is attempting to encourage individuals to realize the danger of acceptance and complacency. Only when we question and search do we have the chance to become truly free. When freed from our cave - enlightenment is possible.

“ The prisoners initial reaction of escaping from the cave is one of fear and confusion, a desire to return to the comfort and security of what he had lived with all his life even though now he is aware it’s all an illusion”(Jackson R 23)
Everything the prisoner once believed to be real is now a figment of his imagination and his past environment. This realization at first is frightening, He recognizes that the objects he now sees are real objects and what he has experienced his whole life was simply shadows. Escaping from the cave is a turning point in the prisoner’s life. His prior knowledge is questioned thanks to his heightened sense of consciousness.

Plato implies people’s lives and there ability to think rationally is limited by their experiences. This phenomenon is reflecting through the shackled cave men’s lack of awareness of the world and there inability to distinguish what is real from what is not. The cave analogy explores the danger and human tendency of becoming docile consumers. Simply accepting familiarity as knowledge disallows for human growth and permits individual’s knowledge and experiences to simply
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