Essay about Exploring Plato's Cave through Camus

Essay about Exploring Plato's Cave through Camus

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Many philosophers have explored the idea of enlightening one's mind through the acceptance of the inalienable truths of justice, beauty, and essential goodness. Arguably the greatest thinker to delve into this complex subject matter Plato, who through the use of his parable, "The Allegory of the Cave", presents us with a unique perspective on learning and making the journey from ignorance to enlightenment. In this interesting piece of literature Plato compares enlightening one's mind to a prisoner who has been living his life in the darkness of a cave who liberates himself from the shadows to see a brave new world, one full of light and new experiences. On a metaphorical level, this journey into the world outside represents one's voyage from ignorance into knowledge and goodness, or as Plato called it, `enlightenment'. Similarly, Daru in Albert Camus's short story The Guest also lives in the dark confines of ignorance, only to have his eyes opened to the light of truth and justice by the arrival of a mysterious prisoner. Claiming to be a teacher himself, Daru (like the prisoner's of the cave) is in fact a victim of his own ignorance. As the story progresses we begin to see a marked change in him, until finally in the story's conclusion his full voyage from the darkness to the light is complete.

Plato in his Allegory of the Cave describes the existence of a group prisoners shackled far beneath the earth's surface in a cave of darkness. On a metaphorical level, Plato contends that the men are chained by the weight of their own ignorance, and it is such that keeps them from seeing the light of the outside world, or as Plato calls it, `enlightenment'. Similarly, the chief character in Albert Camus's The Guest is also a victim of su...


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...n his throat, a physical manifestation of the guilt he feels knowing that he has acted contrary to goodness. Daru turns around and makes his way to the spot that he and the Arab had parted ways and finds the man gone. So the schoolmaster presses on, until finally he sees the Arab trotting along eastward towards the prison. Daru is finally satisfied that justice has been served, and he makes his way back to the school. Plato related in his allegory that the prisoner who had been freed from the cave would be ridiculed and killed by those who were still living as prisoners in the shadows. This holds true in The Guest as well, for when Daru returns to the schoolhouse he finds a threat scrawled on the blackboard. The author(s) of the threat is not dissimilar to the prisoners in the cave, and is blind to reality and the universality of goodness of Daru's righteous act.

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