Plato used this analogy to help his less educated contemporaries at the time understand why the physical world of sense is nothing but an illusion and that the intelligible realm is where the truth can be found. In the analogy Plato presents human beings living in a cave, which represents humans inhabiting the sensible realm. In the cave, prisoners are chained up by their necks and legs and are therefore unable to turn around. Since they have been chained up this way for their entire lives they have no experience of life outside the cave. Behind the prisoners is a low wall, a walkway and a large fire that lights up the cave.
They see different surroundings and actual objects, not just shadows and of course they are stunned. All that they believed to be real and true was a lie and they have now seen reality. The prisoner then returns to the cave to tell the others of his findings but upon returning he is put down by the others and they dislike what he is telling him. Plato then says that upon his return the prisoner could supposedly be killed. The prisoners represent the citizens of the world within the analogy of the cave and the people who carry the objects are the politicians of the world.
The real world is extremely a dystopia, and the people that live in the Matrix are entirely cut off from this reality. Ironically, the real world in the Matrix is a parallel to the world inside the cave. In the matrix, people are only able to see what the machines process, making it difficult for them to break free from the fantasy world. However, as Plato`s story progresses one of the prisoners is set free, but only to live a life of confusion and fear. In the matrix, most die trying to escape from it, and once free, they are just as scared as Plato`s prisoner.
In this cave, there are several prisoners who are shackled so that they may only look forward. Being in this cave for as long as they can remember, this appears normal to them and does not even think looking backwards is possible. A bonfire is placed behind the prisoners and even farther is a pathway leading out of the cave. Objects are moved in between the bonfire and the prisoners, casting shadows of the object on the wall in front of the prisoners. When the prisoners see these shadows, they name the object, as if they were real, and not just a mere shadow.
“The Caves in Our World” In the story, “The Allegory of the Cave,” there are prisoners chained in a cave who have never seen the outside world, but only distorted views of people and the objects they carry along the wall behind the prisoners. In one sense, the cave could be seen as the darkness that people live in when they do not know Jesus. They live in a dark world, where the fire is Satan, who lies and distorts peoples’ views of things by casting the shadows on the wall. People who do not know Jesus are tempted and lied to by Satan. He makes it near impossible for those people to see the truth spoken by the Bible.
Some of the bearers speak and others are silent, as you might expect.” “I see,” said Glaucon [Socrates’ student]. “Truly a strange place and strange sort of people.” “Actually, they are just like ourselves.” Socrates explained, “What do you think these chained men would know of themselves or each other or anything else? They will know only the shadows which the firelight casts on the opposite wall of the cave.” “They could not know anything else if they were chained so that they could never turn their heads,” exclaimed Glaucon. “True;; and what about the things being held above the wall? Would not they only know the shadows of these things?” asked Socrates.
A group of people have lived in a deep cave since birth, never seeing the light of day. These people are bound so that they cannot look to either side or behind them, but only straight ahead. Behind them is a fire, and behind the fire is a partial wall. On top of the wall are various statues, which are manipulated by another group of people, lying out of sight behind the partial wall. Because of the fire, the statues cast shadows across the wall that the prisoners are facing.
Plato’s Analogy Of The Cave The prisoners represent the ignorant, narrow minded society. They have no understanding of anything other than what they see. Their chains hold them back from the truth and they can only understand when they are released. The shadows fool the prisoners in to not seeing things in their true form, making them misinterpret what they see. The fire represents the truth to the narrow minded.
Having a mood disorder and dealing with self-injurious behavior is like being in a mental cave. It’s dark, and therefore, I couldn’t see things clearly. Everything is in a fog, and images are unclear in my head. Plato states that “the truth would be literally nothing but the shadows of the images” (Plato 450). It simply means that what we see is what we believe to be true because we’ve never seen anything to suggest it to be otherwise.
Silhouettes or shadows of these figures are reflected on the cave wall from the light of a fire. As the prisoners have never known anything else, they mistake these images for reality and think that this is all there is to life. One prisoner, becoming free from his shackles, is able to turn and see first the objects casting the shadows and then the source of the light. He makes his way out of the cave, painfully blinded at first by the brightness of the sunlight beyond the entrance to the cave. He now sees reality, and recognises the shadows below for what they were.