Representation and Analysis of the Allegory of the Cave

Essay by kenzie9018College, Undergraduate October 2014

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Mackenzie Farmer

Plato's Legacy

Topic #3

15 November 2013

Representation and Analysis of the Allegory of the Cave

In book seven of "The Republic," Plato discusses the allegory of the cave. He states that there are certain types of people who are few in number, the philosophers, that see the world outside of the cave for what it truly is and then there is the rest of society, who cannot grasp what he calls the Forms. This allegory is a fitting representation of present day society in the way that it describes the naïve nature of the slaves to not believe the philosopher even though what he is saying is the truth. Just like today's society has a false belief of the truth in the world. However, the allegory is also not a fitting representation of today's society because it does not take into account religion, the flexible mind of present day people and the rulers that are not philosophers.

This account of the nature of society and philosophers seems not relevant and outdated for today's version of society.

The allegory begins with prisoners who are bound so that they cannot look to either side or behind them, but only straight ahead. Behind these prisoners are statues that are placed on a walk way and behind these statues is a fire which cast the shadows of the statues on to the wall that the prisoners are forced to gaze upon. People come and go as they move these statues to omit a story to the prisoners. The prisoners have only ever known the single wall on the cave and the stories that they are allotted to be told. They are unaware of the statues creating the world they know, and are oblivious to the world outside the cave. The...