Plato’s Allegory of the Cave

Plato’s Allegory of the Cave


*Note: This post is part of an introductory assignment for my AP US History students. You are welcome to comment even if you are not a student.

The Allegory of the Cave appears in The Republic, Plato’s famous dialogue on justice. You were given a translation of this excerpt in class. When you have finished reading the excerpt and reviewing the video interpretation (included below), explain the significance of the allegory in one well-constructed sentence.

What is the message or thought Plato is trying to convey?

35 Comments

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  1. 1
    Kelsey Clark

    I believe Plato is trying to convey that many people live in the shadows of the world and are not aware of the reality around them.

  2. 2
    Chrissy Chandler

    I believe Plato is trying to illistrate the way people see life and phylosophy, and what they choose to percieve it as whether that be reality or not.

  3. 4
    Drew Nasholds

    I believe Plato is trying to convey the mysteries of the world that humans choose not to discover because the comfort of their own made-up reality.

  4. 5
    Kelvin Washington

    I believe plato is trying to convey that people dont see the big picture about the realities of of life.

  5. 6
    Kate Garber

    I believe that Plato is using this allegory to convey the idea of a person being transformed into a being who truely thinks with all their mind instead of remaining in the dark, unknowledgable world.

  6. 7
    Seth Austin

    I think Plato’s message is that the only capable leaders are those who see deeper meaning in things that average people do not notice.

  7. 8
    Alison Zook

    I believe Plato is stating that people are caught in the darkness and need to be exposed to deeper, more critical thinking.

  8. 9
    Katie Fitzgerald

    To me, Plato is proposing that by familiarizing only with the things in front of our faces, we trust that what is ordinary to us is reality, when we could open our minds to something much bigger.

  9. 10
    Bethany Spencer

    I believe that what Plato is trying to say is that you have to look beyond what is right in front of you, whether it is difficult to see or not.

  10. 11
    Callie Owens

    I feel that Plato is stating that people tend to only believe that their close surroundings are reality, when truly there is so much else out in the world for us to learn about.

  11. 12
    Taylor DeWitt

    I think Plato is trying to convey that people are caught up in their own little world and don’t realize the reality of what is going on around them.

  12. 13
    Logan Hamlyn

    People of ignorance can sometimes choose what they believe; enlightenment can not be taught, but experienced.

    ****Mr. Waldron, this site is quite beastly.

  13. 14
    Sam Eldredge

    The ones who are wisest have gotten their hands dirty, have seen the darkness; these are the ones who appreciate life the most.

  14. 15
    Lauren Brumfield

    I believe that Plato is trying to convey that the world is stuck in their own made-up reality when the actual awareness of one’s self starts with nonconformity.

  15. 16
    Logan Jones

    I believe that Plato is trying to convey that if people want to be the best they can be and experience life, they need to truly analyze all the depths and aspects of life.

  16. 18
    Kylie Roberts

    I believe that the message Plato is trying to convey is to always be clear on “both sides of the story”, not to rely on one view or opinion, be open to all possibilities.

  17. 19
    Ben Brooks

    I think that Plato is trying to tell us that most people don’t try to look into things deeper, into what things really mean, and only pay attention to the physical appearance of objects.

  18. 20
    Travis Sims

    I think that Plato is trying to say that the people with the most logical outlook in life are those who have seen the dark and bright side of life.

  19. 21
    Joe Yuhasz

    Plato’s message is that an ideal leader must have had to experience the life of his/her followers in order to please them.

  20. 22
    Amanda Campbell

    I believe that Plato is trying to say that we are prisoners to the familar and that we have becomes so accustom to these things that we no longer clearly see or hear what is around us until we are taken out of our comfort zone where we are forced to truly examine the world around us with hightened senses.

  21. 23
    DeMoss

    In my opinion, Plato is alluding to the fact that people don’t take the beauty of the outside world, and don’t truly recognize its splendor until exposed to internally-captivating conditions.

  22. 24
    Kalee Robinson

    I’ve concluded that Plato is simply saying if people get stuck focusing on the outer edge of life, then they will never contemplate looking deeper into life, therefore they will never truly grasp complete reality.

  23. 25
    Ben Teachey

    I believe this was a representation of how each person has their own comfort zone and sense of reality different from common preception.

  24. 26
    Tim Bihl

    The Allegory of the Cave describes the pursuit of philosophical enlightenment, represented by the free man, the acceptance of ignorance, represented by the men who remained in the cave, and the unsuccessful attempts by the first man to bring the others out of the “cave.”

  25. 27
    Nick Rodammer

    Plato uses his story of the cave to symbolize mans innate fear of the unknown, and how those who can overcome that fear cross great intellectual boundaries, and should be the rightful rulers of society.

  26. 28
    Hiba

    There are some people don’t know what the reality is and they believe whatever they hear or see.
    The things that we realize by our senses are changing in contrast the things that we are realize by our thinking and our brain.
    The people who see the cover of the things and don’t search inside these things to discover the reality are like a chained people in a dark cave watching the shadows of things and because they live their whole life like this, so they think that the shadows are the truth and they don’t know that they know nothing.
    Plato wrote the allegory of the cave for a purpose which is that we have to free ourselves from the chains and to move on in our life searching for the reality and escaping from the cave to discover what has been hiding.
    Now a day , we could say that the escaping from the cave might be similar to the entering to the age of globalization which is one of the most important phenomena in 21th century . Before this age we didn’t know much things like we do in these days. We discovered many things and the world become like one country.
    Furthermore, When we enter to the internet we see many things that we didn’t know about it before, also the satellite, the telephone, these are the same to the idea of Plato’s allegory of the cave which all of them are devices show us the shadows of the reality so we have to look for the truth by existing in the real place.

  27. 32
    Arannya Shafi

    This allegory is still equally applicable in the current political, social and administrative structure around the world. Government and political activist along with the religious believer showing just like a puppet. There are surely a group of puppeteers in our society. Everyman is grounded with the strong and inevitable chain of exploitation beyond which no one can escape and think.

  28. 33
    Arannya Shafi

    This allegory is still equally applicable in the current political, social and administrative structure around the world. Government and political activist along with the religious believer showing just like a puppet. There are surely a group of puppeteers in our society. Everyman is grounded with the strong and inevitable chain of exploitation beyond which no one can escape and think. Arannya Shafi, Dhaka, Bangladesh. 28 January

  29. 34
    JWAL

    Arannya,

    Thanks for your comments.

    It is difficult for people to move away from what they “know” and see reality for what it really is. There is hope, but when people refuse to read or think beyond their small world, they get caught in the chains that Plato created.

    JWAL

  30. 35
    binyam

    i think plato is trying show us two life changning ways. one is the true and invissible reality (sprituality) and the other one is the untrue, vissible, and looking real. and plato showed us the environment that surround us. however, the choices are up to the individuals.

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