The Metaphor of the Cave
Plato introduces his famous allegory of the cave with the phrase, "like this:" thus establishing that the passage is structured as a metaphor, and therefore must be read both as a figurative description and a symbolic representation of a concrete state of being (VII:514). He also emphasizes that the reader must "imagine," a command that reinforces the allegorical nature of the work - the reader enters into the text as both a voyeur and an actual conceptualist of the image being imagined (VII: 514). As the passage goes through its multiple spatial and metaphysical levels of creation, the reader experiences the exact procession of which he is reading about in the work, thus creating a replication of the same education that Plato addresses within The Republic as a whole. This experience also clarifies for the reader the role of the philosopher king and the notion of the kallipolis a construct based around this vision of truth and wisdom with its multifaceted synthesis of many topos within the dialogue. Thus the allegory is not only a self-contained vision of "the effects of education on our nature," but a prolonged metaphor whose figurative language both intrinsically and superficially draws upon the...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 811 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 6023 literature essays, 1700 sample college application essays, 237 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in