Plato’s “Myth of Cave” is a very famous allegory, also known as “Allegory of the Cave” was used in Plato’s work “The Republic”, which is written in the form of Socratic dialogue. “Myth of Cave” is considered to be the best work that shows Platonism and objective idealism in general. Plato’s “Myth of Cave” is a symbol of metaphysics, epistemology and dialectics also it is the symbol of the whole Plato’s philosophy.
People live in a cave, in the cave with the entrance directed to the light that illuminates the entire length of one wall of the entrance. At the entrance to the cave, there is a shaft of stone in human growth, beyond which people move, carrying on their shoulders the statues made of stone and wood, with all possible images. Behind these people there is a huge fire, and higher there is a sun. So cave prisoners cannot see anything but shadows from the statues on the wall. They hear an echo of someone’s voices. However, they believe that these shadows are the only reality
1. It means the representation of the ontological scale of being, different types of reality – sensitive and supersensitive and their types: shadows on the walls – it is just a simple semblance of the different objects, statues – objects perceived by the senses, stone wall – the line of demarcation that separates two different types of being, objects and people outside the cave – they are the real being, which is leading to different ideas, and the last but definitely not the least – the sun which represents the Idea of Good, Idea of Blessing.
2. “The Myth of Cave” symbolizes the level of cognition: the contemplation of shadow– imagination, the vision of statues that means beliefs from which we come to understand things the same as they are, and to the image of sun, at first indirectly, then directly – these are dialectic phases with different stages, the last stage is pure contemplation, intuitive mind-understanding.
3. We also have different aspects, among them there are ascetic, mystical and theological aspects. Life under the sign of feelings and senses it is only the life in the cave. Life in the spirit – that is the life in the clear light of truth. The path of ascent from the sensual to the intelligible is “the liberation from the shakers”, it means the transformation; and finally the highest cognition of the sun is the contemplation of the divine.
4. This myth has a political aspect with a true Platonic sophistication. Plato is talking about the possible return back to the cave for the ones who were once released. For them to come back in order to free and bring freedom to those who are still in the cave.
I agree with the Plato saying “ the prisoners are like ourselves”, even if right now we are living in the 21st century, we still can be prisoners, but the prisoners of ourselves. And the prison is the world, which is around us every day; we see it with our own eyes. In Plato’s myth people live in cave, if comparing it ourselves cave is our world, world that we are living in. The world of shadows is everything around us, shadows are other people near us. If we are going to move along the path of wisdom we will reach it, we will come exactly right to the sun. And, of course, we will achieve everything we have planned.
Plato's Socrates explains that the cave is our material universe “area covered by sight” and the release of a prisoner of his journey beyond the cave - a journey into the world of Gods, “the rise of the soul to the intelligible”. It should be noted that Plato didn’t free his soul by himself, but with the help of the mysterious mentor and a drives, who are unknown for us, because Plato doesn’t name them. The only thing that we know is that he helped him to free from the shackles of a prisoner , made him stand , walk , look toward the light , this person also tells the truth about the existence of the intelligible and sensual and offers ideas , encourages him to learn, and then makes a prisoner to look at the light till he feels pain in his eyes, and with a force drags him to the top of the hill , and does not let go until brings him to the sunlight . Obviously, we are not talking about another prisoner of the same cave, but about the person who lives in the world outside the cave, well acquainted with the true being. Plato is speaking about the spirit which presides over this man, and accompanying his soul on a journey to another world, with subsequent return of the soul to its own body.
- Plato. The Allegory of the Cave. Brea, CA: P & L Publication, 2010. Print.