De Mille's Allegory To The Cave

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James De Mille’s A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder is a tale of two complex interplaying narratives that De Mille uses to portray the critical shortcomings of several of the readers. Fundamental to De Mille’s critique is the use of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, wherein Plato alludes to three individuals chained inside a dark cavern deeming the shadows of passing objects as real, until one of them is released and realizes the outside world as real, albeit the remaining prisoners are hostile to this change in philosophy (Plato 317-20). Plato uses this image as an allegory to members of society being too comfortable in their ignorance and hostile towards matters that might challenge their perceptions of the world; in turn, never breaking from the figurative shackles of society (Plato 317-20). Hence, by analyzing the limitations of the readers Adam More, Lord Featherstone, Oxenden and Congreve, and Melick it will be clear that De Mille’s depicts several unskilled readers to satirize our views of the world through the use of Plato’s Allegory to the Cave in order to demonstrate what constitutes as a good reader from him.
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Being comfortable to one’s own ignorance and hostile to changing one’s view does not allow an individual to correctly interpret the world around them. More and Featherstone are comfortable in their ignorance and push criticality aside to never question the world. In the same sense, Congreve, Oxenden, and Melick are hostile toward one another’s different take on the manuscript, since each of them “express amazement at each other’s stupidity” (De Mille 248). Consequently, with that said, it is clear what De Mille constitutes as skillful reading; a person who does not fall into the same trope of others in society, in which ignorance is put aside in favour of thoughtful consideration of what truly can be said to be accurate or
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