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Plato Questions - Allegory of the Cave

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  • Essay length: 976 words
  • Submitted: 17/11/2008
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AS and A Level Philosophy

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Plato Questions

Explain Plato's use of the metaphor of shadows in his Allegory of the Cave. (33)

Plato's Allegory of the Cave is about understanding what true reality is, and how it differs from what we perceive as reality. It starts off with describing prisoners, who have been chained since their childhood deep inside a cave; not only can they not move their arms and legs, but their heads are chained in one direction as well so that they are continually looking at a wall.

Behind the prisoners in a fire, and between the fire and the prisoners is a raised platform/walkway where puppets and other things are moved. This causes shadows to form on the wall where the prisoners are looking. Behind the cave is a well-used road, as well as people talking and making noise, which echoes off the cave walls. The prisoners, then, believe that these noises are coming directly from the shadows on the wall. The prisoners try and name the shapes of the shadows as the come by (a sort of game). This is the only reality they know, even though they are just shadows. They judge each

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