Augustine’s Confessions is the story of his search for ultimate truth. Out of the Greek and Roman scholars that influence Augustine, Plato 's iconic imagery of the Cave is one of the most influential works apparent in Confessions. Much like the man emerging from the cave and adjusting to the sunlight, Augustine has to emerge from his life of sin to acquaint himself with the truth, the light of the Gospel message.
According to Plato, people are chained up inside a dark cave. This cave represents a single-minded view of life. The people spend their lives believing that the shadows cast on the wall by the light are reality, because they are unable to see anything else. If one person is freed from his chains and taken to the outside world to view the sun, “his eyes will be dazzled, and he will not be able to see anything at all” (Plato 76). At first, he will continue to believe that the shadows are reality. Gradually, the person will be able to see shadows, then reflections, until he finally will be able to look at the sun and see the world as it truly is. He will no longer believe in the wisdom of the cave, because he now knows that the sun illuminates true reality. Augustine 's search for truth follows the same pattern. He begins in a dark cave of ignorance and sin, and is brought outside of this darkness as he searches for truth and knowledge. Augustine tries many different methods before he finally rests upon the Christian faith as the final truth. Then, he can perceive what he knew before as reality to be shadows of the true light, Christ.
Augustine spends many years studying rhetoric and philosophy, eventually going on to teach these subjects in Carthage. In Carthage, he is met with sexua...
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...stioning new ideas and seeking to understand the truth. He searches for meaning in each religion and philosophical idea and tries to ascertain what is really true. If Augustine is the man who ascends out of the cave, the Greek and Roman epics portray characters that are content to stay inside the darkness, sure that the shadows are reality.
Augustine 's conversion revolves around his discovery of truth, and he finds his answers completely in the Christian faith. Though he spent years of his life reading the works of incredibly intelligent Greek and Roman scholars, their understanding of life was not enough to bring Augustine into the pure light of the Gospel. To truly rise out of the darkness, Augustine needed to endure the “birthpangs of conversion” (Augustine 133). He had to emerge from his own cave of ignorance before he could finally walk in the light of Christ.
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