AllegoryPlato's The Allegory of the Cave is a short story specifically discussing the parallels between the shadows the prisoners sees on the wall of the cave, and the illusion, which passes off as truth in today's society. The Allegory of the Cave is about Socrates teaching his student, Glaucon, certain principles of life by telling him one of his allegories. The Allegory of the Cave can be interpreted in many ways; one way is to make a comparison between the story and the way of thinking by individuals in a closed society. Socrates states that the cave is a world many of us would like to see, but is not really how the world is. It is almost like the movie "The Matrix", where Neo, the main character is to discover that the world he lives in, is not the real world, but a world generated by machines and computers. Only in Socrates' allegory, the world is not created by computers, but by individual minds.
Socrates wants Glaucon to be a wiser, better-educated man, who will later become a ruler of the State. He wants him to know not only the right, but also experience the wrong, because only a man who knows the bad, can truly understand and appreciate the good. Socrates does this by telling him a story, to let him better understand the principles of life. Men are chained down in a cave and have a wall blocking their view to the outer world. The prisoners can only see the shadows of the objects on the other side of the wall. If the prisoners see the shadows of the men on the other side of the wall, they will think that the shadows are real.
When they are no longer chained down, they will not be able to see the rest of the world, because they are now used to the darkness. The sun will hurt their eyes, and so, will they keep thinking that the shadows are real. If they would be dragged upwards, they would be perplexed by the light, and would not know whether what they are seeing is reality or fiction. After being in the light for longer, they would become accustomed to it, and begin to see more than just shadows and vague visions, they would see everything brightly and clearly.
They would now know the pleasure of knowledge, and pity their companions. If they now return to the den, they would see worse than the rest of the prisoners. They would be back in a world where the prison is realistic and the sun is harmful. What Socrates wants to explain with this allegory is that many people often close their eyes to reality.
They would often believe everything that seems to be true, because they don't know any better. When they are able to learn new things, it's too late, because they have already been so used to their tradition, or culture. Change would be out of the question, because they are living perfectly with the habits they have now. The truth will hurt them, and because of that, they do not want to know about it. If someone would confront them with proof that there are more and better things to life than what they are used to, they would be shocked and loose their trust. They would not know what is true and untrue anymore.
Some will decide to find out whether what people have been telling them is true, and become more sophisticated. When they live their life now, knowing more than what they did before, they will start seeing things in a brighter sense. They would now be happy about themselves and pity their companions, for their not knowing. They would try to talk to their old companions, but be seen as silly, because in their world, reality is what everybody around them knows, sees and says.
The Allegory of the Cave illustrates many ways of reasoning. Glaucon being the anxious student and Socrates his ancient master. There are many ways of interpreting the story; one way is the comparison of The Allegory of the Cave to today's way of living and thinking.