Allegory of the Cave

"In 'Allegory of the cave, ' Socrates asks his student, Glaucon, to consider a world that exists beyond what one can immediately perceive with these senses."

By this statement, Socrates meant that there was too much that those who lived in the dark did not know yet they considered themselves competent and able to read the reality. The little things they knew, they perceived, were the reality. Anyone trying to explain to them that what they knew was not the actual truth, they would ultimately reject and disregard them. This creates the difference between the knowledgeable and those who are not knowledgeable. Socrates regarded ones perception and final stand on an issue that they are not exposed to the rest of the world as a form of slavery. The captives in the cave thought that they were good sand their knowledge was highly regarded between themselves and this was what they competed in and perceived to be the correct thing. The freed captive was not welcome when he came back to tell them that what was on the wall was a false reality and that there was much more they missed. They looked at him and regarded his mind and new perception as corrupt and irrelevant to them.

The author to the Allegory of the cave has used this statement widely in his work. It is the main theme of the whole piece of his work. From his work, he shows the complete misinformation by the people who only had a limited vision and are left to follow their perception. Their shallow perception is inadequate and they can hardly believe if anyone of them went out of the cave and brought back to them the actual reality that existed. The author uses the cave that is hidden from the sun and the rest of the world. It is used to represent blindness that could be imposed to people. The captives are held and tied up to face the wall of the cave and they can hardly move their heads leaving them limited to their sight and hearing. This can only show them the shadows cast on the wall and let them think that the sounds that they hear come from the shadows on the wall due to perception. Their perception deceives them and they can hardly get to the reality.

The author further cements the statement by the use of the captive who went out of the bondage. After his withdrawal to the real world, he at some point wants to believe that there was no world as the one he was witnessing. He even wanted to go back to his life of watching shadows and hearing echoes, because he perceived the shadows to be more true and real than what he witnessed in the reality. This shows how strong his perception was to believing that his earlier views about life and images were real and unrivalled in his imagination.

Further, the author uses the sun, the sky and the stars to further represent the reality. The captive who had been let free was allowed to see the source of all energy- the sun. He learnt that even the fire that was used to cast shadows in the cave had been due to the sun. He was sure that his fellow captives who had not seen what he had could not imagine of this. This is true because the author shows the rejection that this freed captive faced when he went back to the cave to try and tell his mates what the reality was.

The author further suggests that there could be honors and competitions that the captives would bestow on whoever was better than others in predicting the images and sounds. These were to the best of their perception the most real things that ever existed. They had developed ranks on who was better and their best was unrivalled. They perceived him to be the most intelligent and wise ad would probably be their king or leader. This was due to their limited knowledge that there existed bigger things outside what they saw and perceived.

The use of dialogue in the allegory gives more meaning to the perception of the learner. Socrates allows his student time to understand and visualize what he wants him to understand and even respond. This shows the need for learners to be allowed time to identify and fully understand what the teachers want them to. This way, their perception will be correctly guided and they would develop into better students. At the same time, the story is better understood and the reader is equally helped by the dialogue to form a deeper perception of the allegory.

Finally, when Socrates asks his student to imagine of a world beyond their perception, the author uses a dialogue style. As Socrates talked to his student, he leaves Glaucon to imagine and allows him to let the image of the cave sink in his mind. This shows the authors advocacy on the need to let people decide in order to make the right decisions. Socrates believed that it was best not to teach students on what you knew but to let them perceive correctly things and learn for themselves. This way, helpful knowledge and wider perception of issues would be imparted on the learners. 

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