Interpreting the first 5 lines in Plato's Allegory of the cave

Essay by lannebamaCollege, Undergraduate April 2002

download word file, 2 pages 5.0

Downloaded 107 times

Interpreting Plato's Allegory of the Cave

Lines one through five of the essay "Allegory of the Cave" focus on the shadows on the cave wall. This passage is important in setting the scene for the essay. Plato tries to explain "how far our nature is enlightened or unenlightened." He employs figurative language and strong imagery to convey a sense brutality towards the prisoners of the cave.

Plato's use of language creates a vivid picture of the prisoners in the cave. "A fire blazing at a distance." The use of the term "blazing" creates a harsh, unwelcoming image of the fire and emphasizes the brutal punishment of the prisoners. He also utilizes the term "marionette players" which should create a peaceful image of puppets moving on string. Instead he creates a feeling of captivity for the puppets being controlled by the puppet holders. He reiterates that these prisoners are not normal in the phrase "strange image, and they are strange prisoners".

Plato continues to use strong language throughout the passage to create a sense of grotesque treatment of the prisoners.

Plato also employs strong imagery to convey his feelings towards the captives. "Human beings living in a underground den, which has a mouth open towards the light and reaching all along the den. Here they have been from their childhood, and have their legs and necks chained so that they cannot move, and can only see before them, being prevented by the chains from turning round their heads," shows the reader the exact positions and treatment of the prisoners. The reader now knows that they prisoners have been in the cave their whole life and cannot move or see what is around them. "Men passing along the wall carrying all sorts of vessels, and statues and figures of animals made of...