The Allegory of the Cave

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The Allegory of the Cave

The thesis behind the author’s metaphor is the basic belief that all we perceive are perfect illusions, so in order to come out of the shadow we should re-examine our beliefs so we can live in truth and reality.

A quote from “The Allegory of the Cave” that would help support our thesis is, “‘and if,’ I said, ‘someone dragged him away from there by force along the rough, steep, upward way and didn’t let him go before he had dragged him out into the light of the sun, wouldn’t he be distressed and annoyed at being so dragged? And when he came to the light, wouldn’t he have his eyes full of its beam and be unable to see even one of the things now said to be true?’” This quote also displays how Plato would use diction in his writing, using formal diction. It supports the thesis because it demonstrates that the prisoner was so caught up with the perfect illusions that he thought it reality, but when he was forced out of the cave he was able to see what was beyond the shadows; what was truth and actual reality.

A different quote from the story that also helps support the thesis statement and gives an example of a figurative language using a metaphor is, “And if he once more had to compete with those perpetual prisoners in forming judgments about those shadows while his vision was still dim, before his eyes had recovered, and if the time needed for getting accustomed were not at all short, wouldn’t he be the source of laughter…” This quote supports the thesis statement because the prisoner that got out of the cave was able to see that his perfect illusions were not all that perfect; he got to see what truth and reality was. As for the other prisoners, they were still caught in shadows which are perfect illusions to them, but if they too were exposed to reality they would also know the truth and not make him the source of laughter.

Plato has one main style of writing. He uses imagery in order to help the reader understand the story better. For example: “Next, then, I said, make an image of our nature in its education and want of education, likening it to a condition of the following kind. See human beings as though they were in an underground cave dwelling with its entrance, a lone one, open to the light across the whole width of the cave. They are in it from childhood with their legs and necks in bonds so that they are fixed, seeing only in front of them, unable because of the bond to turn their heads all the way around…” This was the first paragraph written in “The Allegory of the Cave,” as you can see visual imagery is used and is commonly used through out the whole story. Plato uses hyperbole’s several times. In fact a reader might find themselves reading pure hyperbole’s while going through his writings. For example, Plato said: “You are like a man who is afraid of the many and in your not wanting to seem to command useless studies. It’s scarcely an ordinary thing, rather it’s hard, to trust that these studies a certain instrument of everyone’s soul- on that is destroyed and blinded by other practices- is purified and rekindled, an instrument more important to save than ten thousand eyes. For with it alone is truth seen. To those who share your opinion about this, what you say will seem indescribably good, while all those who have had no awareness at all of it can be expected to believe you are talking nonsense.” Here Plato is saying that in studies many people opinions come together and end up being full of information. However, instead of just simply saying that he adds so many dramatizations in which the reader will believe a simple sentence is extremely symbolic and heavenly.

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