The Allegory of the Cave and Dante Essay

The Allegory of the Cave and Dante Essay

Length: 1237 words (3.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Allegory of the Cave and Dante


“If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing.” This maxim applies to the poet Dante Alighieri, writer of The Inferno in the 1300s, because it asserts the need to establish oneself as a contributor to society. Indeed, Dante’s work contributes much to Renaissance Italy as his work is the first of its scope and size to be written in the vernacular. Due to its readability and availability, The Inferno is a nationalistic symbol. With this widespread availability also comes a certain social responsibility; even though Dante’s audience would have been familiar with the religious dogma, he assumes the didactic role of illustrating his own version of Christian justice and emphasizes the need for a personal understanding of divine wisdom and contrapasso, the idea of the perfect punishment for the crime. Dante acts as both author and narrator, completing a physical and spiritual journey into the underworld with Virgil as his guide and mentor. The journey from darkness into light is an allegory full of symbolism, much like that of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, which shows a philosopher’s journey towards truth. Therefore, Dante would also agree with the maxim, “Wise men learn by others’ harms; fools scarcely by their own,” because on the road to gaining knowledge and spiritual enlightenment, characters who learn valuable lessons from the misfortunes of others strengthen their own paradigms. Nonetheless, the only true way to gain knowledge is to experience it first hand. Dante’s character finds truth by way of his own personal quest.

Dante’s poetry is rich in symbolism of light and darkness. At the beginn...


... middle of paper ...


...ards monstrous figures and sympathy towards those who seem to be tortured unjustly. In his perverse education, with instruction from Virgil and the shades, Dante learns to replace mercy with brutality, because sympathy in Hell condones sin and denies divine justice. The ancient philosopher Plato, present in the first level of Hell, argues in The Allegory of the Cave that truth is possible via knowledge of the Form of the Good. Similarly, Dante acquires truth through a gradual understanding of contrapasso and the recognition of divine justice in the afterlife. Ultimately, Dante recognizes that the actions of the earthly fresh are important because the soul lives on afterwards to face the ramifications. By expressing his ideas on morality and righteousness, Dante writes a work worth reading, immortalizes his name, and exalts the beliefs of his Christian audience.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

The Dividing Lien of Plato's Allegory of the Cave Essay

- Plato’s allegory of the cave, located in Book VII of The Republic is one of the most famous allegories in which he has created. This simile touches base on a number of philosophical ideas which Plato developed over the progression of The Republic (Plato, G.M.A Grube, 1993), the most noticeable being the dividing line. The dividing line is the point between the world of ideas where we live and the world of the forms which is in the heavens. This allegory of the cave helps people understand the theory on which philosophy is based....   [tags: Plato, Allegory of the Cave, analysis]

Strong Essays
2640 words (7.5 pages)

Plato's The Allegory of the Cave Essay

- Plato's The Allegory of the Cave In Plato’s “The Allegory of the Cave,” he suggests that there are two different forms of vision, a “mind’s eye” and a “bodily eye.” The “bodily eye” is a metaphor for the senses. While inside the cave, the prisoners function only with this eye. The “mind’s eye” is a higher level of thinking, and is mobilized only when the prisoner is released into the outside world. This eye does not exist within the cave; it only exists in the real, perfect world. The “bodily eye” relies on sensory perceptions about the world in order to determine what is reality....   [tags: Plato Allegory Cave Essays]

Strong Essays
811 words (2.3 pages)

The Allegory of the Cave by Plato Essay

- The Allegory of the Cave by Plato      "The Allegory of the Cave," by Plato, explains that people experience emotional and intellectual revelations throughout different stages in their lives. This excerpt, from his dialogue The Republic, is a conversation between a philosopher and his pupil. The argument made by this philosopher has been interpreted thousands of times across the world. My own interpretation of this allegory is simple enough as Plato expresses his thoughts as separate stages. The stages, very much like life, are represented by growing realizations and newfound "pains." Therefore, each stage in "The Allegory of the Cave" reveals the relation between the growth of the mind an...   [tags: Plato Allegory Cave Philosophy Essays]

Strong Essays
1122 words (3.2 pages)

Essay on Dante 's Inferno : Allegory And Imagery

- People in today’s world are more open-minded and opinionated than ever before. This has changed the way literature is viewed today. There are many social groups with different ideologies all who view works of literature in their own way. Although authors express their ideas in their own words the different types of readers can interpret it with their own meaning. In one piece of literature, Dante’s Inferno, the author’s trip through hell can be viewed and interpreted in many ways. An individual can perceive different meanings from Dante’s Inferno based on their beliefs and background....   [tags: Divine Comedy, Inferno, Virgil, Dante Alighieri]

Strong Essays
1282 words (3.7 pages)

Toni Cade Bambara’s The Lesson in the Cave Essay

- Toni Cade Bambara’s “The Lesson” in the Cave In “The Allegory of the Cave,” Plato describes the cave as very dark with chained people inside and a wall where they can only see shadow illusions, which they believe is reality. Outside the cave, there is “light” and “truth.” One chained person is released into the “light,” which is uncomfortable at first, because of how bright the “light” or “truth” is however, once he adjusts, he realizes the outer world is the “truth” or reality and the cave is a shadow of reality....   [tags: truth, allegory of the cave]

Strong Essays
1643 words (4.7 pages)

Analysis of Plato's Allegory of the Cave Essay

- Analysis of Plato's Allegory of the Cave Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" presents a vision of humans as slaves chained in front of a fire observing the shadows of things on the cave wall in front of them. The shadows are the only "reality" the slaves know. Plato argues that there is a basic flaw in how we humans mistake our limited perceptions as reality, truth and goodness. The allegory reveals how that flaw affects our education, our spirituality and our politics. The flaw that Plato speaks about is trusting as real, what one sees - believing absolutely that what one sees is true....   [tags: Papers Plato Allegory Perspectives Essays]

Strong Essays
983 words (2.8 pages)

Plato's Allegory of the Cave and Jumping Mouse Essay

- Plato's Allegory of the Cave and Jumping Mouse Truth is like trout. Slippery, it becomes difficult to grasp tightly in any attempt to catch it, and is even more difficult to show to other people, in that when one holds it up for scrutiny it is often lost in the struggle to do so. "Jumping Mouse" and Plato's "The Allegory of the Cave" have a common theme in the form of the search for truth, and showing this truth to the unenlightened. They vary greatly, however, in the carrying out of their exposure of truth, and more, their view of truth and how it is to be handled....   [tags: Allegory Jumping]

Free Essays
1221 words (3.5 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)

Allegory and Truman Show Essay

- Allegory and Truman Show The Allegory of the Cave has many parallels with The Truman Show. Initially, Truman is trapped in his own “cave”; a film set or fictional island known as Seahaven. Truman’s journey or ascension into the real world and into knowledge is similar to that of Plato’s cave dweller. In this paper, I will discuss these similarities along with the very intent of both of these works whose purpose is for us to question our own reality. In his Allegory Plato shows us how a man ascends from the darkness of a cave to the light of the outside world....   [tags: Allegory Cave Truman Show Essays]

Strong Essays
780 words (2.2 pages)

The Allegory of the Cave Essay

- The Allegory of the Cave Plato was born in 427 B.C. and died in 347 B.C. He was a student of Socrates and during his studies wrote a complex and vivid book entitled “The Republic.” In it are numerous dialogues, which are a collection of Socrates teachings. One of the fables included is “The Allegory of the Cave.” This story is Plato’s explanation of the development of the soul toward enlightenment. He uses an analogy of hidden intricacies to describe a cave and what it would be like for an individual who has never seen anything but the cave, emerge to the surface and experience a new world....   [tags: Papers]

Strong Essays
500 words (1.4 pages)