Censorship: A Comparison of Two Literary Works (Plato's Allegory of the Cave and Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451) with Modern Day Examples of Censorship

Essay by amdfoldingHigh School, 10th gradeA+, January 2003

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Since the beginning of literature and intellectual society, philosophers and writers have composed works which have an underlying theme of censorship. One of the earliest of these works is The Allegory of the Cave, which is contained within Book Five of The Republic of Plato. Countless authors throughout time have made references to Plato's work in both fictional and non-fictional pieces, Ray Bradbury being one of them. Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury's "classic novel of censorship and defiance," (Bradbury Rear Cover) contains several references to The Allegory of the Cave.

In The Allegory of the Cave, Plato describes a scene in which prisoners inside a cave who have been restrained since birth in such a way which only allows them to face forward, away from the entrance of the cave. There is a fire in the cave, and it is behind them, so they cannot see it either. Their captors stand behind a wall near the entrance of the cave, and hold up various real-world objects that reflect in large shadows of the wall in front of the captives.

Since this has gone on since birth and the captives know nothing different, they consider it normal to only be able to look in one direction and that they will view the shapes on the wall to be real, normal figures in their actual state of being. Such is the way of a censored society. Those who have had their access to information censored are the captives in the cave, only seeing what their captors will show them and, if such censorship has gone on long enough, they will not even realize that they are in a controlled environment.

Take internet censorship, for example. The internet is a wonderful resource for people of all ages and backgrounds to become familiar...