Essay on The Myth Of The Cave

Essay on The Myth Of The Cave

Length: 973 words (2.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The myth of the Cave, found in the seventh book of Plato’s Republic, depicts a group of people chained in the pit of a cavern, unable to see anything but the shadows of people, and the objects they carry with them, traveling past a fire behind them (186-7). This serves as an illustration of the epistemology Socrates had begun to develop in the preceding book with the images of the Sun and the Line. It also functions as a segue into the related discussion of educational theory. Additionally, though less apparent, the analogy can also be read as a defense of philosophy, an important topic for Plato in light of his teacher’s infamous death, “the founding myth of the academic discipline of philosophy” (Nails). Plato gives a heroic portrayal of the philosopher fulfilling the roles of sage, liberator, and martyr.
Plato’s vision of the philosopher cannot be separated from his theory of knowledge, which receives its fullest expression just prior to the allegory of the Cave. He sees knowledge as a hierarchy divided between the visible realm and the intelligible realm (Plato 183). The visible consists of shadows and reflections of objects, as well as the objects themselves (Plato 183). In this realm, the sun provides sight and is itself seen (Plato 181). Similarly, the intelligible is made up of opinions and knowledge, which correspond respectively to the two divisions of the visible (Plato 184). Lastly, the good parallels the sun in the second realm and is the source of knowledge and truth, yet distinct from them and “more prized” (Plato 182). A philosopher is a person who, driven by the rational desires of his or her soul, ascends along this hierarchy, most likely through the process of formal education described in Book VII, to knowle...

... middle of paper ...

...lsewhere, to contend about the shadows of justice” (Plato 517d-e). A philosopher would face difficulties of this sort in any city other than one governed by the ideal constitution Socrates and the others were constructing (Plato 489c).
Underneath its evident purpose as an allegory of Plato’s epistemology, the defense of philosophy runs throughout the myth of the Cave. Socrates demonstrates that only philosophers can possess knowledge of the good and, therefore, be trusted to make important decisions. This knowledge is arrived at through years of struggle. In view of the common good, they seek to liberate others still shackled to the world of becoming and turn them towards what is. However, in so doing, they will meet resistance, even to the point of losing their lives. Nevertheless, lovers of wisdom will continue to practice philosophy, because they know it is good.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on The Myth Of The Cave By Jonathan Livingston Seagull

- An allegory is a story that has hidden meaning buried in it, usually a moral, political, or religious meaning. The book Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach, and the short story “The Myth of the Cave” by Plato, are both considered to be allegories. In fact, they are very similar allegories because their hidden meanings are alike. In “The Myth of the Cave,” the people are sitting in a deep, dark cave with nothing to live for. Similarly, in “Jonathan Livingston Seagull,” the flock is wrapped up in the idea that all they have to do in life is find food and eat it....   [tags: Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Richard Bach]

Better Essays
714 words (2 pages)

Jonathan Livingston Seagull And The Myth Of The Cave Essay

- Jonathan the Freed Prisoner Both Jonathan Livingston Seagull (a novel by Richard Bach) and “The Myth of the Cave” (a short story written by the commonly-studied philosopher, Plato) are commonly referred to as allegories. An allegory is a work of art that possesses a hidden moral or political message beneath its actual appearance. In many ways, one could easily interpret both of these superb writings to hold the same meaning. One presentation that holds true to this is that Richard Bach’s character, Jonathan, compares to the prisoner that escapes in Plato’s work, “The Myth of the Cave.” Metaphorically, both of these characters are held as prisoners in their life, but then later are freed and...   [tags: Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Richard Bach]

Better Essays
1279 words (3.7 pages)

John Livingstone Seagull By Richard Bach And The Myth Of The Cave Essay

- A young seagull who loves to fly is banished from his flock, but after mastering flight, returns to share these new discoveries with his old flock. A man kept imprisoned in a dark cave is introduced to the outside world, and later returns to the cave to tell his fellow prisoners about it. On the surface, both Jonathan Livingstone Seagull by Richard Bach and “The Myth of the Cave” by Plato have almost childishly simple plots. In both, a character leaves his home, learns something, and returns. However, these stories gain a deeper significance when the reader views them as allegories....   [tags: Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Richard Bach]

Better Essays
1094 words (3.1 pages)

Essay on How Plato Uses the Myth of the Cave

- How Plato Uses the Myth of the Cave Could reality be the greatest special effect of all time. Since the 6th century B.C.E a growth in human knowledge and understanding had occurred and people began to question the world rd they lived in, these people were called philosophers. Thales, Anaximander, Anaximines, Pythagoras, Heraclitus and Socrates were all highly regarded intellectuals but one man's thoughts on the world stood out. Plato is probably the best known of al the ancient Greek philosophers....   [tags: Papers]

Better Essays
886 words (2.5 pages)

Exploring Change in The Allegory of the Cave, and The Myth of Sisyphus Essay

- Exploring Change in The Allegory of the Cave, and The Myth of Sisyphus         The Allegory of the Cave, and The Myth of Sisyphus, are both attempts at explaining some aspect of the way people think or why humans do as observed. Both stories illustrate the same idea:  without necessary and proper exposure to change, thinking is limited and ignorance is the direct product.   The Allegory of the Cave is a parable that demonstrates how humans are afraid of change and what they do not know.  In this work, Plato suggests a situation in which men are living in an underground cave.  The one entrance is located near the top and there, a burning fire casts shadow.  The men of the cave are chaine...   [tags: Allegory Sisyphus]

Free Essays
839 words (2.4 pages)

Essay about The Allegory of the Cave

- The Allegory of the Cave or also known as, Myth of the Cave, is a good example of explaining the feature of the way people think. It is a concept that demonstrates how humans are fearful of change and what they don’t know. Plato says that men are living in an underground cave and it is a situation. The Allegory of the Cave is Plato's explanation of the education of the soul toward enlightenment. Plato talks about being free, everyday life, knowledge, and essentially what he wrote to be true. I think that he was very unique with his writings because there are so many ways to look at the world and his way was just one....   [tags: Philosophy]

Better Essays
1596 words (4.6 pages)

A View into the Allegory of the Cave Essay examples

- In the time of the Greek Empire, when they defined themselves as the world power, the creation and development of sciences both physical and social were in a revolution. One notable science that saw strides of development were the sciences of philosophy, a system of logic, debate and desire for wisdom. The most noted and heard of these men was the formidable Aristotle, but the importance here is in a student, Plato. Plato was an idealistic philosopher, who saw beyond physical constraints of life into his higher beliefs of formless ideas being a truth of life and reality....   [tags: Plato's Philosophies, Greek Empire]

Better Essays
839 words (2.4 pages)

The Allegory Of The Cave Essay

- According to “The Allegory of the Cave,” “ The Oedipus Complex,” and “ The Personal and the Collective Unconscious,” people 's behavior in society originates in the conscious and unconscious minds. Different people have different kinds of personalities which are caused by different types of education, environments, cultures and experiences. These elements strongly influence how they regard the world, and influence how their conscious mind works. When people act how they want it means that they use their conscious minds....   [tags: Unconscious mind, Carl Jung, Mind, Consciousness]

Better Essays
1393 words (4 pages)

The Myth of Sysiphus by Albert Camus Essay

- Albert Camus wrote the Myth of Sysiphus. The stories main character is Sysiphus. He lived in Ancient Greece and was the founder and king of a prosperous city called Corinth. Sysiphus was an extremely smart and clever man but did indeed possess a passionate desire to outwit the gods. Sysiphus also possessed a highly rebellious nature. During his time, he was a mortal man who had the audasity to match wits with the gods. Sysiphus was condemned to role a rock up to the top of a mountain, watch it role back down again, and then push it back up again....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
1104 words (3.2 pages)

Yeti, Myth or Not myth Essay

- YETIS, MONSTER OR MYTH. “Yetis are as pure and white as snow... Yetis have a soft side that they don’t show... Yeti this Yeti that, Yetis rule and u know that” - Capt. Terpin Timins Introduction: Yetis are creatures supposedly created from myth and fiction. They are large tempestuous creatures. Yetis can be classified in the same family as the Sasquatch and Big Foot. Many people believe that Yetis aren't real and are illusions of men who have claimed to have seen them. After researching them I want to say that Yetis are warm and cuddly but do not try to hug a Yeti....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
778 words (2.2 pages)