Ideas And Symbolism In Plato's The Allegory Of The Cave

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Throughout the ages, humanity has put forth intriguing and thought-provoking ideas through the usage of allegories, metaphors, and symbolism. Through these literary devices, a writer can easily put forth their ideas and beliefs in a easier to comprehend and intriguing way than through merely describing it. One such case can be seen in the Greek philosopher Plato's work, The Allegory of the Cave. The Allegory of the Cave describes a group of humans who are dwelling in an underground cave. They have been there since they were very young, perhaps from birth; we can infer this from Socrates' saying, "Here they have been from their childhood" (Plato, pg. 1). Their legs and necks are chained, so they can't move; they can't even move their heads due to the placement of the chains. Behind and above them is a distant, roaring fire; between this fire and the prisoners, a raised way exists, where a low wall is built. The humans chained can see the shadows of puppet-like objects, along with their own shadows, and this is essentially all they know. However, if a prisoner were to escape from their chains and turn around to see the source of the light – and furthermore, if they were able to escape the cave and see the sun and everything outside of their prison – they would become enlightened of the world around them to a…show more content…
The prisoner who manages to escape the cave and see “the light”, along with the objects and what is outside the cave, has reached a sense of major enlightenment; they gained a knowledge so precious and wonderful that they pity those who haven’t been enlightened, and feel compelled to show others how great this enlightenment truly is. While some other cave dwellers might eventually come to agree with them, the majority of these prisoners are content to interact with only the
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