“Allegory of the Cave”, written by Plato, depicts thedifferences between reality and what is perceived. The piece opens with aconversation between Socrates and Glaucon. Socrates tells Glaucon to imagine acave, where humans have lived chained and unable to move their whole life.
Onthe wall ahead of them, are shadows of the outside world. These shadows are allthe prisoners have ever seen, so they believe them to be real. One prisoner isable to get free and although he is in pain from being shackled and not beingable to move, he makes it outside. He is still in pain and blinded by thebright sun light that he has never seen. The prisoner flees backinto the darkness that he has grown accustomed to. Plato then writes that he wantsus to imagine that this prisoner is then drug back outside and up a steep path andmade to take in all the things around him. As this prisoner stays outside hegrows accustomed the light, the sun, reflections in the water and the thingsaround him. He is finally seeing what is real for the first time, not theshadows of everything.
The prisoner nowrealizes that life in the cave was all an illusion. In the passage Plato writes, the prisoner would like tostay and take in all this new reality, but he feels like he should return tothe cave and let the others know. He thinks he has a duty to let them know thatwhat they thought was real is actually just a puppet show being put on, whilereality is behind the screen. Returningto the cave is not easy for prisoner. His eyes are no longer adjusted to thedarkness that he once lived in and he can no longer see like he did before.
Theauthor describes that he stumbles and looks silly to the other prisoners. Hiswords make no sense, this causes the others to fear him, mock him and may tryto kill him. Socrates says that in order for the enlightened prisoner tocommunicate with the other prisoners he must learn to see in the dark onceagain. Socrates tells Glaucon that the cave is the prison of the soul and thejourney the prisoner takes out of it is equal to enlightenment. He continues tosay that educators who believe that what they teach is the only ways, arewrong.
Socrates says everything that one needs to be enlightened is alreadyinside them, they just have to use it.