Allegory Of The Cave Essays

Introduction for Essay

An allegory is a story that can be interpreted to reveal a second meaning or a symbolic representation of something else. ‘Allegory of the Cave’ by Plato is one of the most important allegories to be written and has been interpreted in hundreds of different ways. Plato describes that individuals experience psychological revelation throughout their lives. I believe that Plato is communicating his ideas through different phases, each phase representing a time in life.

Research Paper on Allegory Of The Cave

Socrates describes a scene where a group of slaves has been held captive in a cave their entire lives. The prisoners are chained by their legs and neck, unable to move their heads in any direction. They have been seated in the same position this whole time. All they can see is what is in front of them. Behind the prisoners is a fire, which is the only light source they have in the cave. Between the prisoners and the fire is a long walkway where people walk by carrying all sorts of objects. These objects cast shadows on the wall, which is all the prisoners see. They also hear echoes, the voices of people coming from the walkway. The prisoners assume that the noises they hear are coming from the shadows they see. A prisoner is released and forced to climb out of the cave and step outside into the light. Once his eyes adjust to the sunlight, he begins to recognize the shadows he saw and the noises he heard in the cave.

Argumentative Essay Examples on Allegory Of The Cave

In my opinion, the allegory of the cave represents a person’s development from childhood to adulthood. In part one of the allegory, Socrates’ description of the people living underground in the cave represents childhood. Just like the prisoners, infants are not wandering outside of their homes all alone. Children are always close and watched by their parents. The people living in the cave are shackled in a position where they are not able to see anything. The only thing they see are the shadows of the objects moving behind them, cast by the fire. All they can do is guess what they are looking at. Growing up, children are always roaming around, curious about all the objects around them. Although they may not know what exactly they have encountered, they still want to know the function of that specific object. Those trapped in the cave are isolated from reality and have no clue what the shadows are or where they are coming from. They are not able to know the true meaning behind the shadows unless they go above ground.

Thesis Statement for Allegory Of The Cave

Leaving the cave and coming across reality, as explained in part two, is describing coming of age or can also be represented as teenage years. This time in life symbolizes teenagers moving on in life. After so many years of teenagers being under their guardian’s confinement, all they would like to do is go out into the ‘real’ world and be on their own. They all want to learn and experience new things. When the prisoner is released and forced to turn and face the light he immediately suffers a sharp pain in his eyes. There are times when teenagers run into situations where they learn that their experiences throughout life can cause them pain. There is a chance that these encounters might alter their perception of life. 

The Nature of Knowledge

How does Knowledge begin? Why do we need it? It is a complex topic to comprehend how Knowledge is created and improved. As human beings, we are born with the ability to know and learn by nature, yet we acquire it through our surrounding environment and people. Knowledge is the state of understanding facts and obtaining information about our lives and everything in it. A newborn child starts gaining Knowledge from the very first moment of birth. While growing up, a child learns to play with words and, eventually, is able to say his or her first word. Knowledge is the real treasure in each human being’s life. It is broadened and extended through years of experience and school, but there is no end to it. Nevertheless, there is no accurate explanation of its true meaning.

Ideas of Knowledge as Power

In my opinion, Knowledge could be many things, of which the most important are power, currency, and freedom. Knowledge is the key to being successful and, therefore, powerful in all stages of life. For some people, being successful is defined as pursuing a college degree to be able to have an appropriate job, a higher position, and a reliable income. For others, being successful is having the Knowledge and awareness to accomplish their need and purpose in life. In fact, Knowledge is the power that leads one to their goals and accomplishments. For instance, a physically weak person who is knowledgeable could be far stronger in a verbal argument against a physically strong person without any grasp of the subject. The most precious gift offered by Knowledge is that it stays with us until the end of our lives, and nobody can take it away. Although the greatest amount of Knowledge is acquired and improved by going to school, many things in the world could be learned in person. As Malcolm X states in the essay “Learning to Read,” he was desperately in need of Knowledge while spending his miserable years in prison.

Knowledge as Currency

In other words, he suffered from not being capable of writing formal letters and understanding the books he read. As a result, he began self-educating himself, and eventually, he attained the power to read and write appropriately and became a leader and prominent figure in the Nation of Islam (Malcolm X 240). Knowledge can accumulate a path to achieving financial goals. Human beings tend to obtain different goals during their lives, but the most outstanding one is having the power of currency. Although there are many ways to be financially successful, the role of Knowledge is inevitable. Having a reliable job is not an easy task in today’s world. Many jobs have non-ending requirements, and the first one that usually stands out is having a degree in a profession.

Knowledge as Freedom

Employees consider hiring people who have enough Knowledge of the specific job position and experience on the other hand. Also, Knowledge can be used to improve one’s efficiency and capacity for thinking to create good self-income occupations. However, Knowledge itself is a kind of currency. One that takes time and effort but, in return, gives the most irreplaceable wealth that will lead us to better stages of our lives. Another valuable product of Knowledge, known to be the most precious of all, is freedom. Freedom is living life the way you wish, without any fear of anyone or anything. However, freedom is not only defined as being free physically but mentally and spiritually. To achieve freedom, one must have an awareness of his or her true self and the things around. We tend to doubt and fear many circumstances and question our existence while having no hopes left for us to soothe our soul and mind; nevertheless, lack of Knowledge is the critical cause of that condition.

As Fredrick Douglass explains in his essay “Learning to Read and Write,” another new world opened his eyes when he started to read and understand. By reading various books, Douglass found his hope to be a free man. He states, “Freedom now appeared, to disappear no more forever. It was heard in every sound, and seen in everything” (Frederick Douglass 128). He felt genuinely concerned for his ignorant fellow slaves who were accustomed to their situation in life as slaves. If only they knew there was something called the abolition movement that would set them free, they would stop being in the slavery of white people and start owning their life and freedom (129). Thus, Knowledge is a phenomenon of high complexity and importance at the same time. Without Knowledge, one’s life would be disorganized, and the whole society would drown in its unconsciousness. There is no end to the advantages of good Knowledge; it could lead to transformation and development, a higher quality of life and accomplishments, and freedom in existence.


In his “Allegory of the Cave,” Plato, the great ancient philosopher, describes how truth and Knowledge have a significant role in people’s lives and how they would have the power to free themselves if they had the desire to learn. “Whereas, our argument shows that the power and capacity of learning exist in the soul already; and that just as the eye was unable to turn from darkness to light without the whole body, so too the instrument of knowledge can only by the movement of the whole soul be turned from the world of becoming into that of being, and learn by degrees to endure the sight of being, and of the brightest and best of being, or in other words, of the good” (Plato 284). As you advance and gain more Knowledge and understanding of your surroundings, you will upgrade to a new stage of life.

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