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Allegory of The Cave by Plato - Book Report/Review Example

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Allegory of The Cave by Plato

On this, as on the screen, they see their own shadows, and that of things between them and the fire. Because they see nothing else they think that shadows are the real things. In the end one man throw off his fetters and gropes his way towards the mouth of the cave. There, for the first time he sees the light of the sun, shinning on the things of the real world. He goes back and shares this information with the rest of them, who think that he has become more stupid. Having seen the light, he cannot see the shadows clearly as he is dazzled by the brilliance of the light. He tries to show them the path to the light, but it is not easy to convince them. That is to say that if we a re strangers to the philosophy, then we are like prisoners. We only see shadows, appearances of the things. But when we are philosophers, we see things outside, in the sunlight of reason and truth and this is reality. This light, which gives us truth, and the power of knowing, stands for the idea of Good." (Russel,1960p. 61).
"The prison house is the world of sight, the light of the fire is the sun, and you will not misapprehend me if you interpret the journey upwards to be the ascent of the soul into the intellectual world according to my poor belief, which, at your desire." (Plato,)
The essence of the idea of good and ethical is captured here, as the background for all things which are universally beautiful. The visible world is made visible with the beauty of light. And light is the immediate source of reason and truth in the intellectual pursuit of wisdom and Good. It is in this power that a person of intellectual reason ascends towards metaphysics. He who wants to act rationally in this world should focus his attention to the truth and the wisdom..
This is to say that most people in this world live in the state of relative ignorance. We get used to and comfortable with the ignorance as that is all we know. Facing truth at first can be frightening and people generally like to revert back to their old life. But eventually with time one can deal with truth better, and one desire for more of truth. This sets one apart from the rest and people may think of you as threat to the social norms, as you don't care about things like other people. Truth is addictive, once you have tasted it, it is hard to go back to being ignorant. This search for truth and desire for ascent is what shapes the ethical character of the humanity.
Human beings need something which motivates them, like metaphysics, to accept the reality from the illusion. The shadows of illusion as represented in "The Allegory of the Cave" at the heart projects this strong urge of humans trapped in ignorance. In order to emerge out of their narrow perspective, trapped in the depth of ignorance, one needs a drive for ascent journey. Only rare courageous souls venture to go on this lonesome, long, and torturous journey. "The rare individual escapes the limitations of that cave and, through a long, tortuous intellectual journey, discovers a higher realm, a true reality, with a final, almost mystical awareness of Goodness as the origin of everything that exists."
(Jowett)

This characteristic of the philosopher is the criterion of an ethical man who is best equipped to govern society as he has the knowledge of what is ultimately most worthwhile in life. The tragedy is such an illumined soul who ...Show more
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Summary

The 'Allegory of The Cave' is an allegory used by Plato in 'The Republic'. The allegory is told and then interpreted by the character Socrates. Socrates is talking to Glaucon and narrating a fable to illustrate what it is like to be a philosopher- a lover of wisdom…
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