Civil Disobedience And Allegory Of The Cave Analysis

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Henry David Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience and Plato’s Allegory of the Cave reveal differences and similarities on their outlook on government and solutions to rid their prospective states of certain problems. These solutions focus on freeing oneself from conforming to societal norms in favor of seeking “enlightenment” and awareness. The aforementioned great minds of their times both argue variations of the same views on human existence and an individual 's role in their respective societies. At their core, these two political philosophies urge humanity to threaten the safety of the status quo; they push man to dare to be skeptics, dare to climb out of the depths of their limited perspectives, dare to question what is true reality …show more content…
It promotes prioritizing one 's consciousness over the law since government should be based upon conscience. He largely criticized the American social institutions and policies of the time, predominantly slavery and the Mexican American war, and in protest refused to pay his poll taxes. His justification was that if the government refused to improve their flawed manners then “"It is not a man 's duty, as a matter of course, to devote himself to the eradication of any, even the most enormous wrong” but it is “his duty, at least, to wash his hands of it, and...not to give it practically his support.” Thoreau exposes how government is an expedient which solely exists because the people have allowed this body to execute their will, though it is not immune to misuse. Government is meant to protect individual freedoms and so when these are infringed upon, man 's obligation is to ideologically detach himself from it. He points out how in reality the opponents of reform are ordinary people who cooperate with unjust systems, then claiming that when necessary one must break the law to be a “counter fiction to stop the machine.” Rather than advocate for anarchy and obliteration of government, he takes a moderate approach by instead urging for progression into a more democratic America. He reminds his audience of the social …show more content…
He incorporates an antithesis which supports his belief that government is bad and the virtuous man is good. Likewise, the virtuous individual is discouraged by an amoral government, but the amoral government should be discouraged by the virtuous individual. This antithesis serves to profess who is inclined to be disobedient. Thoreau also used aphorisms such as “it is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right.” His aphorisms teach his audience the moral and universal truths embedded in his message. Many express these truths in memorable ways, often containing some sort of parallelism of juxtaposition further to support his point.Additionally, Thoreau stimulates the reader 's mind through multiple hypophoria such as, “Must the citizens ever for a moment or in the least degree resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience, then?” then proceeds to answer and state his opinion behind his statement. “I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right...” Asking the question arouses the curiosity of the audience, giving it a well timed pause before the question and the answer which can heighten its effect when Thoreau

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