Topics of Literature
October 23, 2014
Critical Response to Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” An allegory is a poem, story, or piece of art that has a hidden message or meaning contained within. Normally an allegory has either a moral or political message. Within the Allegory of the Cave, Plato presents a moral message. The moral message shows how civilization is blind to adjust and grow both intelligently and ethically; that contains us as a group and individuals. I believe that people should learn to understand difference and appreciate what effect it could have on yourself (as an individual) or society.
When people are shown a scenario in which they believe to be false, the ability to accept change becomes irrational. They are trapped in their own minds and the only way to seek truth is to think beyond what they believe of what’s real and what’s simulated. In Plato’s piece, the imagery of shadows is simulated on the wall to the group of people who are oblivious towards the thought of change. The thought of change occurred to one man who was dragged out of the cave into the light. Plato’s purpose was to portray and personify truth. In other words, to display the perception of truth through a metaphoric process that connects the physical world to his philosophical one.
Plato’s main idea in his piece was to distinguish against the people who make visual imagery of the truth and the people who truly understand the truth. The idea of making one man experience the outside world and then return to the people in the cave explaining how the images on the wall are not real, they are merely shadows, creates a metaphor towards modern life. The fact being, how the majority of media production portrays a negative image on a screen and people assume that’s the world they’re living in, which is not exactly accurate. The metaphors of shadows on the wall and the people in the cave embodies “modern day today.”
From reading his text, I believe that Plato is arguing against the people who are afraid of knowing the truth. The phrase “ignorance is bliss” becomes the motto for the people in the cave. The act of not knowing cannot affect your view on the world. But what Plato shows is when an opportunity is given to you, you must be willing to take that chance and understand what’s really going on around you. And if you’re not that person who is given the opportunity, sometimes it’s best to listen to that person who experienced something that you haven’t faced.
The man escaping and going into the sunlight becomes one of the key moments in Plato’s piece. From my standpoint, the outlook from the freed man and the prisoners are highly significant. Plato letting the man understand more to life than just the cave creates questions for me as the reader.
I strongly stand by Plato’s vision on realism, but many questions could change the view or outlook towards his piece. What if the freed man never returned back to the cave? What if there was no fire to help display the shadows on the wall? Then what will the prisoners believe in? Many turns can be taken in this piece to help generate more meaning then the current understanding he has already established. Clearly, in Plato’s piece, the uninformed will still be in existence, because after all, the “cave” is the only thing they know. Prior to my questions, I understood that Plato recognizes that knowledge is power and is different from having knowledge of the real world. Understanding the concept of the shadows portrayed on the wall, I now understand that not all knowledge has to be believed in, and it doesn’t matter if you are oblivious or illuminated to a situation, the courtesy of listening to other may effect your views on different situations.
Throughout his text, Plato goes in great detail and structure when creating meaning in his piece, using successive analogies to form the idea of “good.” He claims the form of “good” is to the intelligible