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Plato The simile of the cave - Essay Example

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A simile or an allegory is a fictional story with underlying moral values, teachings or messages that the composer intends to pass on to the audience or readers. Similes encourage critical thinking and enhance analytical skills as one works to decipher the hidden message. The…
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Plato The simile of the cave
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Download file to see previous pages At the time of its composition, scholars struggled to explain human psychology and the workings of the human mind. A tag of war between empirical psychologists and those that believed in reason led to numerous debates and this composition aims at addressing the situation at hand.
The allegory is part of a series of publications, collectively titled The Republic, which address various aspects of human behaviour including; morality and justice. In previous and subsequent publications, the author uses the same style of presentation to explain human behaviour, and his view on various issues affecting human beings. At the time of publishing The Republic, Plato doubled up as a renowned philosopher and mathematician among the Greeks. Plato drew inspiration from other established scholars such as Pythagoras and through his numerous travels to Egypt, Syria, Libya, and Sicily.
The main themes in the simile are ignorance and humans, as depicted by the enslaved characters and their understanding of things. The following analysis of the work by Plato aims to explain the analogies purported in the simile, the plot and the elements of literature used by the author. The analysis will go over the plot of the simile to uncover the intended message from the hidden nature in which the author delivers it.
The allegory begins with a group of prisoners chained at their hands and necks. They cannot change the direction in which they are facing and are forced to constantly stare at a wall. Behind the prisoners is an elevated wall, and a pathway constructed in such a way that the prisoners cannot see people using the path, but can see shadows of what they are carrying cast upon the wall they are facing. Further behind the pathway is an elevated fire, blazing at a distance such that shadows of the prisoners, as well as elevated goods carried by passers-by, are cast upon the wall in front of the prisoners.
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In about his fortieth year Plato is said to have left Athens to study with Pythagoras at Crotona. Plato was perhaps the only Pythagorean whose work and teachings are known today. Traveling to Syracuse, Plato met Dionysius I and became friends with his brother¬ in-law, Dion, who later became his follower (Jaspers, 1962). After leaving Italy Plato traveled to Egypt, Cyrene, Judea and to the banks of the Ganges. It was said that his mind became a treasure house of the world's wisdom (Thomas & Thomas, 1941). But it was Socrates to whom Plato remained devoted all his life.
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