Essay on The Allegory Of The Cave

Essay on The Allegory Of The Cave

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The Allegory of the Cave is a metaphor found in Book XII of The Republic written by the Greek philosopher, Plato. It is a dialogue between Plato and a man named Glaucon that discusses several different theories about human nature and the idea of enlightenment. Many people question whether or not the theories mentioned in Book XII apply to the government of the United States as it is today. It is evident after reading Book XII of Plato’s Republic that the answer is yes; his theories remain relevant, even in the world of today.
Plato begins the dialogue by describing the cave and the people to which he is referring. The cave is underneath the ground where a small fire is the main light source. The prisoners, who are shackled by their arms and legs, are sitting in front of the fire facing a wall. Above them there is a walkway connecting with a low wall, resembling a puppeteer’s stage. On this walkway people are carrying monuments and statues to make projections on the wall opposite of the prisoners. The people cannot turn around to see that they shadows are being projected from other objects and people, which leads them to believe that the shadows themselves are real beings. This allows the people to take advantage of the prisoners and keeps them from seeing the truth. This idea is exemplified in the government’s control of the media today.
The government acts in ways very similar to the people in the cave. The people in the cave tricked the prisoners into believing the shadows were real beings, much like today’s politicians and government officials trick people into sympathizing with their beliefs. They utilize the media to achieve this task. They take advantage of the fact that the people blindly accept what the med...


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...re at the mercy of their captors just as today’s society is at the mercy of the government. The government has control through the media and government officials are able to get people to agree with their views by manipulating the truth. People do not want to be faced with the truth, and greatly oppose those who try to present the truth to them. The purpose of Plato’s metaphor is to depict how enlightenment can set you free from the restraints of society. It is a very difficult and painful process that is heavily ridiculed by others. Once the process is complete, however, people realize that knowing the truth is better than being sheltered by a lie. It is obvious that Plato’s theories remain true even today, but until humans are willing to go outside of their comfort zones to educate themselves they will remain prisoners of the government and their society.

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