Plato's Allegory of the Cave

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  • The cave represents a landmass with people isolated from the rest of the earth. The chains represents society, and how a society binds people together, “”they cannot move, and can only see before them, being prevented by the chains from turning round their heads”(2). The chains also hold people back from reaching the truth, which is represented by light, “a mouth open towards the light and reaching all along the cave”(2). The small rays of truth that come in, in the form of light, cast shadows along the walls of the cave, “They see only their own shadows, or the shadows of one another”(2).
  • Those shadows are glimpses of reality to the prisoners. The prisoners are the average person within the society, trapped by the chains, and by each other like mindless sheep. When one person is freed from the chains of society, and steps into the light of truth, he is pained and struggles, but adapts and grows to be able to see and understand the upper-world, with the true reality, “He will see him in his own proper place”(3). The longer he stays in the light, he grows stronger, until he can observe the sun, the all powerful creator of the truth, “Last of all he will be able to see the sun”(3), a representation of God himself.
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