“Can Art be a Representation of the truth?”
The point of this essay will be to prove that art can produce a representation of the truth, this will be shown through examples from “Platos Allegory of the Cave” (Plato, The Republic, 380 B.C.), a story about prisoners in a cave who escape and realize that there are different degrees to the truth around them and that what they perceive as true is just the different representation they are seeing. This can be seen through the way the prisoners in the cave perceives the shadows of the themselves to be reality, how they perceive the shadows and sounds of the statues of the men on the way to be reality, and then when they see true forms and see what is actually reality. All of these things are different representations of the truth in the form of art which changes only in its sharpness and how it is perceived.
Art as a representation of the truth can first be seen through the way the prisoners perceive the shadows on the walls of the cave to be the truth because it is all they can see, these shadows created by them are art forms that represent a distorted reality, this happens because they are unable to turn and see that the shadows are really their own. “And they see only their own shadows, or the shadows of one another, which the fire throws on the opposite wall of the cave?” “To them, I said, the truth would be literally nothing but the shadows of the images.” These two quotes together show that the only thing the prisoners knows to be true is this representation of truth, which is created by their own bodies, and without anything to compare it to, they would never know that what they are seeing is just a representation of the truth.
Art is again perceived to be reality when they see the shadows created by the men above them on the way, and when they hear the noises from the men and believe it to come from the shadows themselves. “And do you see, I said, men passing along the wall carrying all sorts of vessels, and statues and figures of animals made of wood and stone and various materials, which appear over the wall? Some of them are talking, others silent.” This quote describes the people on the way above them, and the truth to what they are seeing on the wall. “And suppose further that the prison had an echo which came from the other side, would they not be sure to fancy when one of the passers-by spoke that the voice which they heard came from the passing shadow?” To the prisoners below they see only large shadows of animals, which give off strange echoing noises, and this is their only version of the truth. When the prisoners are freed and they see the men holding statues in front of a very bright light and their first thought is that the shadows, which to them are much clearer, are reality, and what they see now is just a representation, the truth of course becomes clear when their eye sight returns. This shows again that they believe the shadows to be the truth even though it is just a distorted image of the truth.
The representation of truth is…