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Plato's Allegory of the Cave

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Plato's Allegory of the Cave can be deciphered in many different ways. True reality is not obvious in most of us. We can be deceived on what we see and hear about reality and truth. This is the basic premise of the Allegory of the Cave. We experience emotional and intellectual revelations throughout different stages in our lives. The stages that we encounter in our lives are represented by growing realizations and new found pains. These stages reveal the relation of the growth of the mind and age.

In the beginning of the excerpt which is characterized by chained and confined people, is a metaphor representing the infant and child ages of humans. Like the confined people, children are not allowed to wander freely outside of their home and must stay close to their parent's watchful eye. Those living in the underground den have their heads positioned in a way that they must not view a fire blazing behind them. The heads of the people only see the shadows cast by the fire and objects passing by behind them and they can only guess as to the actual physicality of the object. This also is very similar to children who are curious about objects around them. Although children do not understand complex objects, they do want to know the purpose and function of the object. When we were young, our parents imposed ideas on us. They were the reason why we believe on certain things. They gave us ideas about this world we live in. The callout with a candle light means that we only believe what we are taught as children. But these ideas change when we started going to school. We learn and gather a lot of information that help us gain knowledge and broaden our thinking. We are now exposed to different ideas from different people. We might feel knowledgeable about life; we might feel that we've finally discovered the true reality. But then, society can still affect our ideas and thinking about life. The light bulb represents the ideas and beliefs of an individual and the mouse trap represents how quick society is to destroy that ideas and beliefs. Plato describes how some people would immediately be frightened and want to return to the cave and the familiar dark existence. Others would look at the sun and finally see the world as it truly is. A broken light bulb with flowers started growing means that some do break their chains and escapes the cave to see what reality is. A few would embrace the sun and the true life and have a far better understanding of truth.



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