Explain the Analogy of the Cave in Plato's Republic

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Explain the Analogy of the Cave in Plato’s Republic Plato believed in a hierarchy of forms, the most important form being that of the good, which cascades down onto all the other forms. This is important to remember when reading the Analogy of the Cave. Plato’s hierarchy of forms places the form of the good at the top, below that is justice truth and beauty, followed by universal qualities, then concepts and ideals, after this is physical living objects and finally, physical inanimate objects. The analogy starts by stating that there are prisoners bound in a way that prevents them from moving and unable to turn their heads. They are facing a cave wall upon which shadows are being projected. The shadows form because of a great fire at the back of the cave. There are people carrying statues across a walkway in front of the fire, it is these statues that are being projected onto the cave wall. The prisoners believe these shadows to be reality as it is all they know the world to be. Diffused sunlight enters through the cave through the entrance. One of these prisoners breaks free of his bindings and escapes the cave, when he leaves the cave he exits into a world of beauty and reality. The prisoner out of a sense of duty returns to the prisoners and tells them of the world beyond the cave. The prisoners do not believe him and kill him. Every aspect of the allegory is symbolic of Plato’s theory of the forms; the prisoners represent ordinary members of society who are not versed in the idea of the forms. The shadows cast upon the cave wall are symbolic of the world of appearances, the world that the prisoners believe to be true reality, when they are in fact being deceived by the shadows. The people carrying the statues have a perceived sense of freedom and at the same time deceive those with less freedom (the prisoner’s) Plato considered these people to be the
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