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Commentary About the Allegory of the Cave by Plato

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Commentary about the Allegory of the Cave by Plato

In this metaphor Socrates compared an unjust society with an underground cave filled with chained prisoners, who cannot move at all. In front of them there is a big wall on which they can only see the reflected shadows of different objects. Behind them there is a fire and behind it there is a platform in which men pass the objects whose shadows the prisoners see. Between the fire and the prisoners there is a road that leads to the entrance of the cave.

A prisoner is liberated and is forced to stand up and look at the back; he is dazzled by the fire. Then, his savior--a philosopher--started to explain to him that his world of shadows is only an illusion of the real world. The free prisoner does not believe it. In addition, the light and the stand-up position cause great body pain. For this reason he decided to stay in the cave, however, the savior makes him to go up the road and get out of the cave in order to see the good things such as nature, animals, water and sun.

When the free prisoner got out of the cave his sight is lost because the light from the sun is very intense compared with the light of the fire that was in the cave. As the time passed, the free prisoner started to see, once again, the shadows of the objects, their reflection in the water and the objects themselves.

Finally the free prisoner can see directly at the sun without hurting his eyes. At the time, the free prisoner felt happy and comfortable in the wonderful world of light. He started to think about how lucky he was to have been chosen to be set free and how his life had changed since then. Also, he started to think about his beloved ones and how horrible and pitiful was their existence in the hell of darkness. Due to this, he decides to go back to the cave and pursued the other prisoners to liberate themselves and meet the world of light.

Sadly, when the free prisoner arrived to the cave, he could no longer see the forms of all the shadows that he used to see before getting out of the cave. This situation produce the laugh of all the people in the cave and even some started to warn among them that the reason for which his sight was ruined was because he got out of the cave out of curiosity, and the price for it was not worth it.

Socrates emphasizes that if the free prisoner kept trying to tell the people that their world is just a fantasy, an illusion from a real world, which he forms part of, the prisoners would kill him if they could. Socrates related this with the all philosophers' place in society, who are usually not taken seriously and are even put to death.

In this metaphor the cave symbolizes the world and the societies within it. The prisoners represent the uneducated people of a society. The shadows are the illusions of things that humans decide to be true because they can see them. The fire symbolizes the belief of



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