Plato’s Cave Allegory



Plato’s Cave Allegory

The  story below is taken from Book Vll of Plato’s most important work called The Republic. It is retold to us in a clear and almost verbatim account by Orson Wells. As you are viewing the film consider some of the following questions. Exposure to this content now is important to get an idea of Plato’s notion of the Good.  In this story you will see both the elements of mythical imagery and the theoretical logos of the Greek Naturalist combined to take us to a new level of understanding things that will be hallmark of Socrates & Plato. So, view, enjoy and consider.


The assignment is to be one page in length

View the video below

Use the prompts to guide your response in assessing the story.

You must respond to at least four of the six questions.

Question Prompts

In what way is the prisoner’s condition in the cave similar to our own condition at the start of our lives?

When he is released and suddenly forced to turn around the first time, what does he experience and come to realize about his former state in relation to his condition now?

When he is forced to make his way to the outside, what does he experience, and how is this analogous or similar to the earlier condition he experienced when forced to turn around?

Why does the adjustment take time and what does he come to realize about his former belief  concerning the nature of things and their cause?

Finally consider the Sun. What is its relation to the things he has come to understand as being true? How is this new awareness different from his former vision of things and from his understanding of how they were caused?

Why does he return to the cave from which he left, and at what cost?  Do some of us never get out of the cave; why?