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Analysis of Plato's The Allegory of the Cave

Analysis of Plato's "The Allegory of the Cave"


The moist air of the cave hovers in a homeostatic manner around the man’s conditioned skin. He sits, staring at the flat, cold surface of rock in front of him. Nothing that he sees surprises him. He just stares blankly at the recurrent shadows dancing in a dull glow. He is motionlessly caught in a state of a calm, content trance. The cold chains around his neck match the vacancy of life his face. The only expression seen is a small rising in the corners of the man’s mouth, producing a strangely content smirk. Nothing is heard except a constant, repetitive drip of water forming a stalagmite deep within the cave. Suddenly a voice awakens the man out his trance. The voice whispers into the man’s ear, “I can show you a path to knowledge and bring you out of your cave and into the sun. I can show you a life without the chains, a life of absolute freedom. All you have to do is follow me.” The man sits, contemplating the reliability and safety of this advice. These cave walls are all he has known. Why should he want to leave the familiar to follow an untrustworthy voice to what he claims to be a better existence? Suddenly the world around him collapses. He is confused by what the voice says, and is driven emphatic by his curiosity of what this path to the truth of life really is.

In “The Allegory of the Cave,” Plato addresses one of the most controversial and recurrent themes of human existence. He is the philosophical voice that tempts the man of the cave to join him in a journey to enlightenment. He views most of the population as prisoners, chained in a dark cave, watching shadows dance on the wall. They do not care what causes the shadows, nor do they try to resist the chains that hold their head in place. If someone were to break free, they would see that the shadows are the effect of people dancing around a fire. If they dared to venture even further then they would eventually find there way out of the cave and see the sun, the ultimate truth, for the...

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