Plato's The Cave Allegory, a dramatic myth told in the seventh book of the Republic, is a prime example of an author who attempts to answer the question why it is important to "philosophize". Like some of his predecessors, Plato argued that the ascent to wisdom is a difficult journey, however, he believed that it was possible. The Cave Allegory is used to answer the question, "What is Plato's view of humanity and how can we obtain real knowledge?" .
At the beginning, people fettered in the cave, seeing only the shadows of things. Since they had not been exposed to anything else they believed that this was the world. During Plato's time, the cave dwellers could be compared to those who gained their understanding from the poets, Homer and Hesiod. In our today, one could compare them to those who get their impressions of the world by paying attention to the media. Our media only shows us images, reflections and interpretations of reality.
The transition out of the cave into the light, is symbolic for humans moving away from merely their sense and moving onto reason and mind. As soon as our wondering prisoner steps into the sun, he is disoriented and confused. He is shocked to see the world around him. Plato uses this to show that when one obtains knowledge it is shocking and illuminating. It can definitely be puzzling at first, however, it is worth while, just like it was worth while for the prisoner to see the sun, feel the warmth of it and all the other surroundings. .
When returning back to the cave, back into the darkness, the prisoner is ridiculed for what he tells them. The others don't believe that what the prisoner is telling them is true, because the shadows of the cave are everything that the prisoners have ever been exposed to so they cannot believe otherwise. This illustrates Plato's view of humanity. He sees humanity as being ignorant, trapped in the depths and not even aware of its own limited perspective.