Allegory Of The Cave Summary

  • Category: Philosophy
  • Words: 487
  • Grade: 90
Summary of " The Allegory of the Cave"

        "The Allegory of the Cave," was written by Plato somewhere between 428-327 BC. The essay takes place in a dark cave, inside the cave there are prisoners chained to the walls so that they cannot move at all, not even the movement of the head from side to side is permitted. The prisoners have been in the cave their whole lives, never once being able to see daylight or move. Located in the middle of the cave there is a fire, but there is a wall in front of the fire so that the prisoners actually see the fire it's self, just the faint light it casts. The caregivers for the prisoners walk on a wall near the fire carrying objects. The prisoners can see the people's shadows cast upon the top of the cave, but they cannot see the actual fire or the people and objects themselves. They can however, hear the voices of the people. Because, the prisoners can only see the shadows and hear the voices, they see the shadows as being something that could move and talk on their own instead of a representation of something else.
        One day a prisoner managed to escape from the cave and see the outside world. When the prisoner gets out into the world his eyes cannot handle the light of the sun and he was in extreme pain. Eventually, the pain subsided and his eyes adjusted to the light of the world and he was amazed of things that he had saw, and could not imagine them to be true. The prisoner eventually is able to accept the real world as the "truth", and was in total disbelief that his whole previous life was a lie.
        Unfortunately, the prisoner is recaptured and is forced to return to the cave. Upon returning, his eyes are no longer able to see the shadows. The escaped prisoner tries to explain to his fellow prisoners what he has seen beyond the cave, but the others take it as being false and believe him to be crazy. The other prisoners believe that the shadows are reality and that all that lies beyond the cave is bad, in the sense that leaving the cave makes you come back full of nonsense realities and stories, not to motion the loss of vision. The prisoners see no reason to leave the cave and are not about to ever try.
        The essay serves the purpose to explain that a person can never truly be sure what the real reality is. People who try to think outside the box and explain ideas to others are often just made fun of and regarded as crazy. In turn, these people are often silenced and in many cases allow others to miss out on the true reality.
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