The purpose of The Republic by Plato is to explain, define and seek the true definition of justice and highlight the flaws of the democratic political system. Plato constructs the argument that leaders of a nation (kings) should become philosophers, or philosophers should become kings. Throughout his book, Plato deliberately expresses his belief that it takes a special kind of knowledge and wisdom to rule a nation justly and successfully.
The cave is depicted as a allegory that explains the path one has to take when it comes to education in order to achieve the ultimate source of good, knowledge. The myth of the cave says that there is a group of men and women who have been held prisoners for their entire life. They believe their reality consists of shadows that are reflected in the wall of a dark cave; and perceive those shadows as horses, people and trees. Little, they know, that the shadows come from statues that are manipulated by people from outside the cave.
Later, a man who was being held captive is released and forced to look at something other than the wall. He is forced to look behind him for the first time in his life; he sees the brightness of the fire and the authentic form of the statues, which he only saw reflections of. He becomes afraid and later astonished of the new things and reality he has experienced. As time goes by, he learns to accept these things as his ultimate source of reality.
Then, he is dragged out of the cave where he encounters a light so bright he cannot adjust to it. Little by little he begins conditioning himself to this new form of light that he does not understand where it is coming from. He cannot see well due to the clarity of the light, but he desires to see it. He begins the process o...
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...achieve the absolute good.
It has always been assumed that the people who are best set to guide and rule a polis are those with the most knowledge. If the individual does not have enough wisdom, the polis can fail and go into perdition.
“don’t understand that a true captain must pay attention to the seasons of the year, the
sky, the stars, the winds, and all that pertains to his craft, if he’s really to be the ruler
of a ship. And they don’t believe that there is any craft that would enable him to
determine how he should steer the ship, whether the others want him to or
not, or any possibility of mastering this alleged craft or of practicing it at the same time
as the craft of navigation. Don’t you think that the true captain will be called a real
stargazer, a babbler, and a good-for-nothing by those who sail in ships governed
in that way?” (Plato; 2007, 204)
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