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Reality and Imagination in Allegory of the Cave

            In my essay, I will discuss how Plato's Allegory of the Cave shows his philosophical views on reality versus imagination, and what they need to do to reach this clarification. Plato lived 427-327 B.C. Plato's mentor was Socrates, as he uses him in the Allegory of the Cave. Plato was a writer and a teacher who wrote in forms of dialogues. Plato believed that education is only directing student's minds towards what is important and real. For people to have clarification, they have to see things for themselves. He believed educated individuals have a fix on reality unlike the rest of us. .
             The Allegory of the cave is a way of explaining what Plato is trying to get across to people by looking at appearance versus reality, and the steps leading to reality. He is talking to Glaucon and is telling a story to show what it is like to be a philosopher or a lover of wisdom. Plato's cave has people who are uneducated on theory of forms, chained, unable to move their heads or limbs, facing the wall. "Here they have been from their childhood, and have their legs and necks chained so that they cannot move, and can only see before them, being prevented by the chains from turning their heads around" (William F. Lawhead, 32).1 A fire burns behind them. And between the fire and the 'prisoners' there is a stockade where people can go to hold up puppets such as animals, plants, and other things to cast shadows on the cave walls that the prisoners can see. The prisoners can hear echoes and see the shadows cast by the objects but aren't able to see the real objects. So what they are naming the shapes, which are all the reality they know, are really the shadows of images. The prisoners are mistaking appearance for reality. They see the shadows they think are real, when in fact, they know nothing of what is causing these shadows. Plato then asks, what if the prisoners could turn around and see these said objects and see the fire that is creating the shadows.

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