“Allegory of the Cave”, written by Plato, depicts the
differences between reality and what is perceived. The piece opens with a
conversation between Socrates and Glaucon. Socrates tells Glaucon to imagine a
cave, where humans have lived chained and unable to move their whole life. On
the wall ahead of them, are shadows of the outside world. These shadows are all
the prisoners have ever seen, so they believe them to be real. One prisoner is
able to get free and although he is in pain from being shackled and not being
able to move, he makes it outside. He is still in pain and blinded by the
bright sun light that he has never seen. The prisoner flees back
into the darkness that he has grown accustomed to. Plato then writes that he wants
us to imagine that this prisoner is then drug back outside and up a steep path and
made to take in all the things around him. As this prisoner stays outside he
grows accustomed the light, the sun, reflections in the water and the things
around him. He is finally seeing what is real for the first time, not the
shadows of everything.  The prisoner now
realizes that life in the cave was all an illusion.

            In the passage Plato writes, the prisoner would like to
stay and take in all this new reality, but he feels like he should return to
the cave and let the others know. He thinks he has a duty to let them know that
what they thought was real is actually just a puppet show being put on, while
reality is behind the screen.  Returning
to the cave is not easy for prisoner. His eyes are no longer adjusted to the
darkness that he once lived in and he can no longer see like he did before. The
author describes that he stumbles and looks silly to the other prisoners. His
words make no sense, this causes the others to fear him, mock him and may try
to kill him. Socrates says that in order for the enlightened prisoner to
communicate with the other prisoners he must learn to see in the dark once
again. Socrates tells Glaucon that the cave is the prison of the soul and the
journey the prisoner takes out of it is equal to enlightenment. He continues to
say that educators who believe that what they teach is the only ways, are
wrong. Socrates says everything that one needs to be enlightened is already
inside them, they just have to use it.  

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