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Plato's Cave

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ts 4. What is your understanding of Plato’s ‘Allegory of the Cave’?
Plato’s Allegory of the Cave illustrates the long and arduous journey that is undertaken on the road to true enlightenment. The influence of Socrates is prevalent throughout the text. Socrates, who was Plato’s mentor, was ‘committed to a life that cultivated wisdom’. (Lecture Notes) The pursuit of Truth (The Allegory of the Cave) is one way in which we become wise. I agree with the Allegory to a certain extent. I do believe that people can have a fear of the unknown and can therefore remain static or ignorant as it were. However, I also believe that many people, and in particular children, are naturally inclined to explore and question and therefore further their knowledge, which is at odds with the prisoner as presented to us in the Cave.
The first thing that must be done when discussing Plato’s Allegory of the Cave is to ask ourselves what it represents. Firstly, it’s important to point out that it is told by Plato in the context of education. The Allegory is a metaphor for the journey people must take on the road to true enlightenment or in order to gain true knowledge. He utilises the Allegory as a way to explain his theory of forms and his differing views of illusion and reality. The prisoners are living in a world in which they ‘can only look straight ahead of them and can’t turn their heads’. (Plato, 1955, p.256) In this sense, we see what we are told to see and we believe/accept it without ever questioning it. We have beliefs but we don’t understand why we have these beliefs. Similar to the prisoner in the cave or Neo in the Matrix (Wachowski Bros., 1999) movie, which is loosely based on the Allegory of the Cave, this poses a major psychological difficulty – we are afraid of moving beyond what we know towards the unknown. We see things only as they appear to us. This is where we come to a…...

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