We see that ideas are eternal and perfect, even though the physical world crumbles. The "Allegory of the Cave" by Plato represents an extended metaphor that is to contrast the way in which we perceive and believe in what is reality. The thesis behind his allegory is the basic tenets that all we perceive are imperfect "reflections" of the ultimate Forms, which subsequently represent truth and reality. In his story, Plato establishes a cave in which prisoners are chained down and forced to look upon the front wall of the cave. When summarizing the "Allegory of the Cave" it's important to remember the two elements to the story; the fictional metaphor of the prisoners, and the philosophical tenets in which said story is supposed to represent, thus presenting us with the allegory itself.
The prisoners in this analogy are meant to represent normal people, with their false knowledge/opinions being the shadows. The cave itself is mean to be the physical realm (the world as we see it). The sun is used to represent the form of good (the source of all things); the escaped prisoner’s journey is his ascension into enlightenment, where as the prisoners return to the cave is when the prisoner has already been enlightened and has gained the knowledge. Socrates, student of Plato, describes how he thinks the prisoner would be feeling and thinking during the prisoner’s journey through out the Cave analogy. Socrates describes the prisoners experience as starting out as fear and confusion as he starts to realise that the shadows on the walls are not reality.
Plato used the analogy of the cave to illustrate the nature of reality and importance of the philosopher by creating this analogy that people will be able to understand if they are accepting of having to think about things which could make them question a lot of other things. He also believed that many people who didn’t understand or want to hear of his analogy were themselves under an illusion which the analogy itself explains. In the cave, there are three prisoners who are facing a wall of the cave while, tied to chairs and unable to move their heads to see what is behind them. Plato refers to these prisoners as the majority of humans who can think, speak, and touch etc. without any awareness of their own realm of Forms.
The “shackles” are like a symbol of how they all have this same way of living and thinking. Each of them have been tied together in this world of not knowing the life outside of the “cave”. The thought often scares those without the ability to understand that reality is what one may make of it when embracing the situations you may encounter daily. (The Republic) Yes, I do believe it is important for people to escape “the Cave”. According Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" The chained man was suddenly released from his bondage and let out into the world.
Sometimes animals, birds, people and other objects passed by the entrance of the cave casting a shadow on the wall inside the cave. The prisoners could see the shadows on the wall and mistakenly viewed them as reality. However, one prisoner broke free from the chains and escaped from the cave. When he reached the outside, he was distressed and blinded by the sunlight as he had never seen this type of light before. For the first time he saw the real world and knew that what he was seeing far beyond the shadows from the cave.
After having set eyes on the sun, this man cannot go back to the cave, to the dark, and see the world as he used to before he started contemplating the truth. This man is Segismund. The limit of Segismund’s world is the walls of his cells; what he knows of the world, he has learned from Clotaldo the jail keeper. Basil, the King of Poland and Segismund’s father, can be likened to the people behind the wall in front of the fire; they are presenting images of what they deemed was acceptable to show the men in front of them just like Basil did to Segismund. Basil is like these men also because he feeds images to his son while he thinks he is living the truth, when these men are just as ignorant of the world that lies outside the cave they live in as the men that have been shackled since birth.
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.
Explain Platos allegory of the cave (25) The Greek philosopher Plato established his allegory of the cave from his writings in 'The Republic' and has multiple morals that are displayed through Socrates and Glaucon. Here his hypothetical argument questions the relationship between the world of appearances and reality, illustrating people worthy of ruling (philosophers) cannot trusting their empirical knowledge though the senses, but only through understanding the world of the forms through intellectual knowledge can we experience a dim recollection of reality. The allegory begins with a description of prisoners in a cave, who are only able to look strait ahead because they are chained. Plato's use of a cave is argued to have built upon the earlier philosopher Empedocles who said 'we have come under this cavern’s rood, conveying the sense of being trapped in a different world away from light and reality. This is similar to Plato's idea the material (body) trapping the immaterial (soul).
Behind the prisoners is a low wall, a walkway and a large fire that lights up the cave. Every once in a while, people walk across the walkway carrying objects and because the walkway is in front of the fire, it causes shadows to be cast against the wall in front of the prisoners – just like shadow puppets. They associate the sounds made by the people casting the shadows against the wall of the cave with the shadow itself because they know nothing better. This is the only reality they have ever known. The prisoners represent ignorant, less educated people who have not yet opened their minds to the philosophical truth – the intelligible realm.
Plato refers to untutored humans as the chained prisoners who can’t be able to turn their heads in the cave. The cave represents the world humans live in for the things they see do resemble their true forms just like the prisoners could only see the shadows cast on the wall, hear the echoes produced by the real objects behind them. They could not be able to turn their heads to see the puppeteers walking behind them and the fire that is producing the light that enables the puppeteers reflect their real objects on the wall. It is easy for the prisoners to mistake reality for the images in appearance. If an animal shadow is cast on the wall, the prisoners will talk about having seen an animal thinking they have seen the real animal.