Allegory of the Cave
The "Allegory of the Cave" is just that, an allegory, or a symbolic story. One should not take it literally. I like to equate Plato's allegory with education ... how one starts off in ignorance (chained to the dark well) and has to be compelled, quite against one's wishes often, to be unchained and start the "steep and rugged ascent" into the light, enlightenment, or education. The very root of the word "education" is from the Latin for "to lead out of" implying a leading out of darkness or ignorance. And once one gets into the light, one does not want to go back into the cave. Think about all you've learned. Would you be willing to give up that knowledge, be it a foreign language, or how to play a musical instrument, or compute in math, or understand the weather? Once you know something, once you understand and have seen the light, you cannot go back into the cave of ignorance.
Plato demonstrates this in "The Allegory of the Cave."
The prisoners were chained in the cave to prevent them from moving, and to keep them in their own ignorance. If they were able to move and look around, they would have seen the truth of the statues, and the fire behind them. The cave
is a metaphor for human existence. The people in the cave accept the shadows on the cave wall as reality because this is all that they have experienced. The echoes they hear are assumed by them to be real for the same reason. Plato is trying to illustrate that people know little truth about the reality of the world. The philosopher is the escaped person who goes into the light and can see the true reality of the world around...