Essay on The Allegory of the Cave, from Book VII of Plato's Republic

Essay on The Allegory of the Cave, from Book VII of Plato's Republic

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The cave, symbolic of the mother's womb, is the source of life and death. In “The Allegory of the Cave”, from Book VII of Plato’s Republic, the theme of the cycle of life and the transition from the unborn to the deceased is representative of the cycle of entry and exit from the cave. If based upon this idea, one can conclude that the chains are symbolic of the umbilical cord. This concept reflects the Greek values of reproduction, humanism, and the anti-hero, because the anti-hero is symbolized by returning to the mother. The value of reproduction is seen in early Spartan civilizations, for both Spartan men and women were held to a very high standard and were expected to give birth to strong sons that would become fierce warriors so as to sustain the strong military tradition of the early Spartan society. The value of humanism is exemplified through Greek philosophy and epics such as the Iliad and the Odyssey of Homer. The idea of the anti-hero is also depicted in works such as the Odyssey, for an anti-hero is one who returns to the mother, in this case, the cave.
Although the actual date of composition has not been officially confirmed, The Republic was written by Plato around 411 B.C. (Cook). The Republic is a work largely associated with the values of education, ethics, politics, religion, and sociology (Cook). Many people believe that Plato, who was an ancient Greek philosopher and a student of Socrates, is the greatest philosopher of the ancient world. Throughout the history of ancient Greece, Sparta is a profusely militaristic city-state, emphasizing the birth of strong children fit to become warriors. Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" may have influenced the early Spartan society, accounting for Sparta's heavy e...


... middle of paper ...


...ir own by vacating their parent's cycle of control.
As individuals exit and reenter the cave, they embody the idea of the cycle of life, illustrating the values of humanism, reproduction, and the concept of the anti-hero. The cycle of life is significant because it has had an immense influence on society in both the Eastern and Western culture.



Works Cited

Chevalier, J. & Gheerbrant, A. (1996). The Penguin Dictionary of Symbols. New York: Penguin.
Print.
Cook, James Wyatt. "The Republic." Encyclopedia of Ancient Literature. New York: Facts on
File, Inc., 2008. Web.
Georgiadou, Agathi. "The Semiotic Use of the Cave in Classical and Modern Greek Literature."
International Journal of the Humanities 3.4 (2005): 5-9. Humanities International
Complete. EBSCO. Web. 21 Nov. 2010.
Spielvogel, Jackson J. World History. New York: Glencoe, 2008. Print.

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