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Allegory of the Cave

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Allegory of the Cave is a conversation and discussion between Glaucon, Plato's brother, and Socrates, Plato's mentor, who also is the narrator. This allegory begins a description of humans chained up inside a den for their entire lives having nothing to look at besides a blank wall with shadows. Eventually a prisoner is freed to see all that he has been shadowed from. Socrates begins to discuss how a philosopher can be similar to the prisoner who is freed. The prisoner discovers that his perceptions of the shadows are incorrect and that they actually do not encompass reality. The shadows on the wall do not make up reality at all but are an illusion. The freed prisoner begins to understand how the sun has played a central part in what he and the other prisoners were always "seeing." Socrates concludes by asking Glaucon to think about the state of the freed prisoner. The prisoners he left behind will not understand his new views and see him as corrupted because they are still only seeing shadows and what he sees in not reality in any form to them.

Allegory of the Cave can be interpreted in numerous ways. For example, when first reading the selection, my mind quickly wondered to the idea of corrupt government. It was not until my second reading that I discovered that the selection is about education and the idea behind not using senses to form our thoughts and observations. We must use our thoughts to guide our thinking otherwise our observations will be inaccurate and misled. Within his selection the chained up prisoners will develop the best observations because they only have their thoughts to guide their thinking and no other outside influence will mislead their education and thinking.



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