Of Imagery In Oedipus The King And The Allegory Of The Cave

analytical Essay
1051 words
1051 words

“A sensible man will remember that the eyes may be confused in two ways- by a change from light to darkness or from darkness to light; and he will recognize the same thing happens to the soul” (Plato 3). In a literal meaning, the term dark is defined as, “with little or no light,” and the term light is defined as, “the natural agent that stimulates sight and makes things visible” ( However, when used in a piece of work, such as this one, darkness and light can be associated with an endless amount of meanings. For instance, by using imagery, any author can write a story about one event that’s happening, but have a deeper, more meaningful message that isn’t so straightforward. For example, in both Oedipus the King and “The Allegory …show more content…

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how sophocles and plato use dark and light imagery to convey the dangers of ignorance and the power of knowledge.
  • Analyzes how plato's "the allegory of the cave" demonstrates how the right use of imagery can convey a different message from what the story originally led us to.
  • Analyzes how sophocles uses light and dark imagery to convey the message that you can be completely blind to something you have done if you don't have the right knowledge.
  • Analyzes plato's use of light and dark imagery to portray the ignorance and knowledge of their characters.

In Plato’s short story, a group of men have been imprisoned in a dark cave their whole lives and know nothing else, only the shadows on the wall. This leads Plato into questioning, “What do you think he would say if someone told him that what he had formerly seen was meaningless illusion, but now being somewhat nearer and towards more real objects, he was getting a truer view” (Plato 2)? By using this example of light imagery, Plato is showing how knowledge is represented by the light. This is because when the men are in the dark cave they know nothing, only what their senses have been telling them. Plato is trying to get the point across that what you think you know can always be challenged by knowledge. At this point the man comes to the conclusion that everything he once knew isn’t what’s reality. However, the other men in the cave weren’t enlightened like he was, and when he came back down into the cave and his eyes weren’t used to the darkness and, “They would laugh at him and say that he had gone up only to have come back with his sight ruined” (Plato 2). He uses dark imagery representing the ignorance of these men. As mentioned above, the men only know sitting in the obsidian cave watching shadows on the walls, they don’t know about the light the man was exposed to or even the whole other world outside …show more content…

After analyzing both, the conclusion can be made that Plato was more effective in conveying his overall message. The main reason for this is because Sophocles only uses imagery to show that Oedipus is blind to himself and his own actions, whereas Plato utilizes imagery to explain how the man is blind to the world because of his lack of knowledge. For that reason, Plato’s work was more effective because by choosing to describe the cave and making it symbolize ignorance, you can not only picture it in your head, but also understand the meaning behind the use of the cave. The same goes for when the man is exposed to the light for the first time and gaining knowledge. Plato made sure the reader was able to picture the cave by describing the darkness and the the fire giving off the only light, while also making sure we understood their lack of knowledge of the real world. He does this by saying, “They could only suppose that the sound came from the shadow passing before their eyes” (Plato 1). Plato is describing the prisoners lack of knowledge while also giving us something to picture in our heads. While Sophocles does give us some examples of this, his are more straightforward and they aren't used as frequently as Plato’s were. This means he didn't give the reader a lot to picture in their head, and there wasn’t as much of a turning point in his work where you

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