Literary Analysis Of Plato's Allegory Of The Cave

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Allegory of the Cave” is a philosophical parable or analogy from Plato’s The Republic, written around 380 BC. Exploring themes of knowledge, perception, and the importance of education, it takes the form of a discussion between Plato’s brother, Glaucon, and his teacher and mentor, Socrates. Although this dialogue was almost certainly scripted by Plato, it is not clear whether the idea itself is Plato’s own or his record of Socrates’s thoughts.
The allegory begins with Plato’s Socrates describing a group of humans held in a deep, dark cave. They have been imprisoned there since childhood, their necks and legs bound so they cannot turn to see themselves, each other, or the rest of the cave. All they can do is stare ahead at the cave wall in front of them. Behind them, unseen, is a walkway with a low barrier on it, and behind that is a large, bright fire. A group of puppeteers moves along the walkway, with puppets raised above their heads. While the puppeteers’ own shadows are obscured by the barrier, the light of the fire casts the silhouettes of their puppets onto the far cave wall so that
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One common reading suggests that it demonstrates that our perception and our senses, like those of the cave dwellers, are subjective and unreliable and cannot provide us with objective truth. This can only be found through abstract thought and philosophical reasoning. Another important interpretation states that the allegory highlights the complexities of education and ignorance, demonstrating not only how humans may be advanced and enlightened through education but also explaining why the ignorant may cling, sometimes violently, to their own ignorance. As one of Plato’s most famous pieces of writing, “Allegory of the Cave” has not only provoked great philosophical debate, it has also inspired many more popular reflections ranging from the 1999 movie The Matrix through Mumford and Sons’ song “The

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