Plato - The Analogy of The Cave

Detailed explanation/importance with bad drawing that I drew to help explain in simple terms

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  • Created on: 01-04-13 18:29
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The Cave is the most important as it combines similes of The Sun and The Divided Line. The journey of the
prisoner is crucial in explaining Plato's beliefs.
Prisoners bound facing the wall-
Here the prisoners are at the level of illusion. All they can see are shadows, within the Divided Line this
shows they are living purely at the level of Illusion.
A Prisoner turns around, accustoms with light and realises men are making shadows with objects-
This can be seen as double deception as the illusions themselves are made by copies of Forms, E.G. the
men, wood and fire. This shows the passage of the prisoner from ignorance to belief.
The Prisoner is forcibly dragged up the steep slope-
This represents the rigours of education, those forcing him up the slope are presumably his teachers. The
light from the Sun (form of the Good) is painful on his eyes. The implication here isi that many will turn back
or give up before they reach the final stage of true reality; they are reluctant to see the truth.
The Fire-
Performs the same function as The Sun does in the Intelligible Realm and is therefore `the Good'. However, it
is not the real `good', it is a false Form of the Good. The cave prisoners opinions are based on that which the
Fire's light has created.
The Outside-
The reflections of objects in water represent the geometrical figures of mathematic study. They are more
real than objects in the cave but not as real as the Forms.
The Sun-
At first the sun is seen in a dim manner, but after the philosophers education reaches completion, he is able

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Sun in the full manner. When he can do this he can see the life the sun creates and can
understand how the Forms partake in the Form of the Good.
Strengths Weaknesses
Encourages us to question in order to learn, Socrates says "our argument shows that
not just to accept things at face value. the power and capacity of learning exists
E.G. the philosopher prisoner turned around in the soul already".…read more

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The Sun ­ The Form of Good
The Fire ­ the false Form of Good in the Visible Realm
The Cave ­ the world in which we live
The Prisoner who turns around ­ the philosopher striving to realise the truth
The Chains ­ human thought and desire, constrains us from philosophical potential
Chained Prisoners ­ the general population kept in a state of ignorance
Fire parader causing illusion ­ politicians controlling prisoners knowledge
The Steep hill ­ the difficult and strenuous journey to true…read more


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