The Allegory Of The Cave

The Allegory Of The Cave

The “Allegory of the cave” by Plato represents a comprehensive representation intended to show distinction between the way we observe and believe in what is reality. The theory behind his metaphor is the basic tenets that all we observe are flawed “reflections” of the definitive Forms, which consequently signify truth and realism. Plato creates a cave in which prisoners are restrained by chains and forcefully made to gaze upon a wall of the cave.

It is important to keep in mind when analyzing the “Allegory of the Cave” the two foundations to the story, the illusory allegory of the prisoners and also the philosophical beliefs in which the story is supposed to represent, therefore giving us the allegory itself. The prisoners are restrained to the floor and are not able to turn their heads to view behind them. There are puppeteers hiding behind the prisoners creating shadows on the wall, the prisoners ultimately perceive these to be reality.

It is described to the reader that the prisoners would be inherently mistaken as to what is reality, we know hat the puppeteers are using wooden and iron objects to make the shadows form reality based items and people, the prisoners would distinguish nothing else but the shadows, and recognize this as their own reality. This is a significant advance to the story because it shows us that what we distinguish as real from birth is completely untruthful based on our flawed understandings of reality. When the prisoner is released, he looks upon the fire and objects that once dictated his perception of reality.

The prisoner is able to view the real truth, which Plato describes as “aching” to the eyes. Plato queries whether the prisoner would want to return to the previously believed reality of truth. Glaucoma and Socrates agree the prisoner would rather suffer any other fate than depart back to his previous life and lack of understanding. It could be questioned whether Plato is correct in believing that the prisoner would never want to return to their old ways. Plato, it could be argued, might be underestimating the pull from emotions, physical pleasure, desire and emotions.

People, me included, have found themselves n situations previously in which they know what the right thing to do is, yet they don’t always choose this option. Weakness of will, which Aristotle identified that people suffer from, and also desire can be too strong for some people to combat. It seems naive to state the prisoner in no situation would wish to return to the cave. Plato creates a gloomy reality in the metaphor. The cave, meant to portray the physical world, is not an entirely fair representation of the physical world, the description of the cave could be seen to be created with an agenda.