The Allegory of the Cave

For this commonplace I am going to be taking a look at Plato’s The Republic, more specifically the section regarding the allegory of the cave.

How could they see anything but the shadows if they were never allowed to move their heads”

To give context to this quote, the way the allegory of the cave goes is that there are three prisoners chained up in a cave with a fire burning in front of them. The shadows casted on the wall in front of them was the only sense of reality that they ever have known. Sooner or later of of the prisoners breaks free and escapes the cave, seeing the world for what it really is. After being blinded by the sunlight, he returns back to the cave to tell the other two prisoners what he witnessed. The other prisoners think he’s crazy, not deviating from the only truth they know for such a radical alternative.

This quote highlights how trapped and hopeless the prisoners are. In a metaphoric sense, how trapped and hopeless the greater population is, living in ignorance and not making efforts to look beyond what they know. “ never allowed to move their heads” encaptures how the greater population ( not philosophers) are so controlled and given such a narrow point of view by the government.  Socrates and Plato mean two things by this analogy. They first believe that this is how it feels to be a philosopher. Philosophers are always seeking and discovering new truth that the rest of the world, governments and pre existing social standards don’t understand.  I feel that this is how socrates felt as he was sentenced to death for “ corrupting the youth”. In socrates mind, he was just trying to expose the truth to the ignorant, trapped and hopeless individuals who are scared of difference and change.

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