Socrates in Plato’s ‘Allegory of the Cave’

Category: Culture
Date added
2021/06/26
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Plato was an ancient Athenian Philosopher who studied under fellow philosopher Socrates. He would later become one of the most influential philosophers of all time. One of Plato’s most notable works and most famous allegory was the “Allegory of the Cave”. Plato uses the “Allegory of the Cave” as a tool to show us, readers, his views on society and true knowledge.

Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” could be a critique to Athenian Society and or society in general. Many elements in the “Allegory of the Cave” are metaphors for elements in society. The main protagonist of Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” is Socrates, and he speaks to a person named Glaucon throughout the allegory. The allegory begins with Socrates telling Glaucon to see human beings as though they were imprisoned in an underground cave. These humans are in this cave for their entire childhood with their legs and necks in bonds. This means that they can only see what is in front of them. Their light is from a fire burning far above and behind them. Between the fire and the prisoners, there is a road above, along which we see a wall. There are puppet-handlers set in front of the human beings and over which they show the puppets (Republic 514a-514b). These prisoners represent members of society and or people in general. Throughout the allegory the prisoners, in the cave were constantly being deceived and manipulated. Plato is using the prisoners to show us, readers, that as members of society, we are also constantly being manipulated and deceived. The shadows may represent the general beliefs that people gain from society. During the “Allegory of the Cave” the shadows that the prisoners are seeing are being manipulated to show different images.

Plato may be using the shadows to tell us that the things that we believe in are being manipulated and controlled by society. The cave and bonds both represent the aspects of society that hold people back from seeing how things really are. Tradition is an example of an aspect of society that holds people back from seeing how things truly are is. Tradition holds people back from seeing the truth because it encourages people to not think critically. Instead of using logic and reason many people tend to rely on tradition and past events because it is easier to do so. Relying on tradition can lead to deception because society changes over time. Tradition also holds people back from seeing the truth because the truth can sometimes be found in new and improved ideas. A lot of the time new and improved ideas that don’t go along with tradition are automatically discredited. The puppet-handlers represent the people in society who have the power to influence the general public.

Examples of the people in society who have the power to influence the general public are politicians and teachers. The main reason why politicians and teacher have the power to influence the general public is that they have very important positions. Teachers can instill values and morals into their students from a very young age. Politicians can create and enforce laws that can dictate our actions and thinking. In the “Allegory of the Cave” Plato is painting the puppet-handlers as deceivers. The puppet-handlers are deceivers because they are making the prisoners believe that the shadows, they are seeing are real. Plato uses the puppet-handlers to show us, readers, that the people in society who have the power to influence the general public, politicians, and teachers, are deceitful. Plato would say that the main reason why teachers and politicians are deceitful is that they lack true knowledge. Plato would consider teachers and politicians Sophists. In this day in age Sophists would be any person who uses clever but false arguments.

In the “Allegory of the Cave” Socrates asks Glaucon a variety of different questions concerning the prisoners in the cave. Socrates asks, “Do you suppose such men would have seen anything of themselves and one another other than the shadows cast by the fire on the side of the cave facing them?” (Republic 515a-515b). Glaucon responds by saying “How could they? If they had been compelled to keep their heads motionless throughout life?” (Republic 515a-515b). Socrates then asks “And what about the things that are carried by? Isn’t this the same with them? “(Republic 515b). Glaucon responds by saying of course (Republic 515b). Socrates then asks Glaucon “If they were to discuss things with one another, don’t you believe they would hold that they are naming these things going by them that they see?” (Republic 515b). Glaucon responds by saying necessarily (Republic 515b). Socrates then asks Glaucon “And what if the prison also had an echo from one side facing them? Whenever one of the men passing by happens to utter a sound, do you suppose they would believe that anything other than the passing shadow was uttering the sound? (Republic 515b). Glaucon responded by saying no by Zeus, I don’t (Republic 515b).

This exchange between Socrates and Glaucon shows that the prisoners must believe that the shadows they are seeing are real. The prisoners believe that the shadows are real because they have been exposed to them for virtually their entire lives. The prisoners have not had the ability to see how the real world is. The prisoners also have no choice but to believe that the inaccurate and confused opinions of their fellow prisoners are true. The prisoners being essentially forced to believe in things that are false because of their surroundings and their upbringing is very comparable to how society currently is and was during Plato’s time. From the beginning of time children have been conditioned to believe in certain things at a young age. The things people are taught at a young age are also reinforced as they get older. The things that people are taught at a young age are not always correct. Plato is trying to tell us readers as a society we are blindly believing inaccurate things because we are conditioned to do so from a very young age. This means people need to use their own critical thinking skills to find the truth.

Socrates then asks Glaucon to consider what would happen if a prisoner was able to free themselves. In this hypothetical situation Socrates says that when the prisoner turned around, they would not be able to clearly see the objects that were casting the shadows that they have been watching. Socrates also said that the prisoner’s eyes would be hurting them because their eyes would be overpowered by the light from the fire (Republic 515c).Plato was an ancient Athenian Philosopher who studied under fellow philosopher Socrates. He would later become one of the most influential philosophers of all time. One of Plato’s most notable works and most famous allegory was the “Allegory of the Cave”. Plato uses the “Allegory of the Cave” as a tool to show us, readers, his views on society and true knowledge.

Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” could be a critique to Athenian Society and or society in general. Many elements in the “Allegory of the Cave” are metaphors for elements in society. The main protagonist of Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” is Socrates, and he speaks to a person named Glaucon throughout the allegory. The allegory begins with Socrates telling Glaucon to see human beings as though they were imprisoned in an underground cave. These humans are in this cave for their entire childhood with their legs and necks in bonds. This means that they can only see what is in front of them. Their light is from a fire burning far above and behind them. Between the fire and the prisoners, there is a road above, along which we see a wall. There are puppet-handlers set in front of the human beings and over which they show the puppets (Republic 514a-514b). These prisoners represent members of society and or people in general. Throughout the allegory the prisoners, in the cave were constantly being deceived and manipulated. Plato is using the prisoners to show us, readers, that as members of society, we are also constantly being manipulated and deceived. The shadows may represent the general beliefs that people gain from society. During the “Allegory of the Cave” the shadows that the prisoners are seeing are being manipulated to show different images. Plato may be using the shadows to tell us that the things that we believe in are being manipulated and controlled by society.

The cave and bonds both represent the aspects of society that hold people back from seeing how things really are. Tradition is an example of an aspect of society that holds people back from seeing how things truly are is. Tradition holds people back from seeing the truth because it encourages people to not think critically. Instead of using logic and reason many people tend to rely on tradition and past events because it is easier to do so. Relying on tradition can lead to deception because society changes over time. Tradition also holds people back from seeing the truth because the truth can sometimes be found in new and improved ideas. A lot of the time new and improved ideas that don’t go along with tradition are automatically discredited. The puppet-handlers represent the people in society who have the power to influence the general public. Examples of the people in society who have the power to influence the general public are politicians and teachers. The main reason why politicians and teacher have the power to influence the general public is that they have very important positions. Teachers can instill values and morals into their students from a very young age. Politicians can create and enforce laws that can dictate our actions and thinking. In the “Allegory of the Cave” Plato is painting the puppet-handlers as deceivers. The puppet-handlers are deceivers because they are making the prisoners believe that the shadows, they are seeing are real. Plato uses the puppet-handlers to show us, readers, that the people in society who have the power to influence the general public, politicians, and teachers, are deceitful. Plato would say that the main reason why teachers and politicians are deceitful is that they lack true knowledge. Plato would consider teachers and politicians Sophists. In this day in age Sophists would be any person who uses clever but false arguments.

In the “Allegory of the Cave” Socrates asks Glaucon a variety of different questions concerning the prisoners in the cave. Socrates asks, “Do you suppose such men would have seen anything of themselves and one another other than the shadows cast by the fire on the side of the cave facing them?” (Republic 515a-515b). Glaucon responds by saying “How could they? If they had been compelled to keep their heads motionless throughout life?” (Republic 515a-515b). Socrates then asks “And what about the things that are carried by? Isn’t this the same with them? “(Republic 515b). Glaucon responds by saying of course (Republic 515b). Socrates then asks Glaucon “If they were to discuss things with one another, don’t you believe they would hold that they are naming these things going by them that they see?” (Republic 515b). Glaucon responds by saying necessarily (Republic 515b). Socrates then asks Glaucon “And what if the prison also had an echo from one side facing them?

Whenever one of the men passing by happens to utter a sound, do you suppose they would believe that anything other than the passing shadow was uttering the sound? (Republic 515b). Glaucon responded by saying no by Zeus, I don’t (Republic 515b). This exchange between Socrates and Glaucon shows that the prisoners must believe that the shadows they are seeing are real. The prisoners believe that the shadows are real because they have been exposed to them for virtually their entire lives. The prisoners have not had the ability to see how the real world is. The prisoners also have no choice but to believe that the inaccurate and confused opinions of their fellow prisoners are true. The prisoners being essentially forced to believe in things that are false because of their surroundings and their upbringing is very comparable to how society currently is and was during Plato’s time. From the beginning of time children have been conditioned to believe in certain things at a young age. The things people are taught at a young age are also reinforced as they get older. The things that people are taught at a young age are not always correct. Plato is trying to tell us readers as a society we are blindly believing inaccurate things because we are conditioned to do so from a very young age. This means people need to use their own critical thinking skills to find the truth.

Socrates then asks Glaucon to consider what would happen if a prisoner was able to free themselves. In this hypothetical situation Socrates says that when the prisoner turned around, they would not be able to clearly see the objects that were casting the shadows that they have been watching. Socrates also said that the prisoner’s eyes would be hurting them because their eyes would be overpowered by the light from the fire (Republic 515c).

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Socrates in Plato’s 'Allegory of the Cave'. (2021, Jun 26). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/socrates-in-platos-allegory-of-the-cave/

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