Essay #2: Plato and Bacon4-6 Pages – 150 PointsA. Apply the Allegory to Real-Life Issues: Ms. O’Connor applies Plato’s allegory to the problem of alcoholism. Using the list we generated in class, choose an issue in your own life (drug addiction of my husband to heroin), or that of someone close to you, which has caused you or the other person to experience the false reality of the cave. Write an essay detailing the ways in which the allegory can be a metaphor for this issue, and how it can help readers gain a deeper insight.*Accurately summarize and explain the text that go with your option.*Your essay must have an overall point or thesis which should appear early in the paper.*You must quote from the relevant essay in the book at least three times.*You must cite two additional outside sources, and these sources must come from the databases.*Sources must be integrated (see Quote Burgers).*Sources must be cited correctly according to MLA documentation. This includes your works cited page.*Your essay must be a minimum of four full pages in MLA format.*Your essay should be organized with an engaging introduction that introduces the major works examined in the paper, logically ordered and unified body paragraphs, and a reflective concluding paragraph.*The writing needs to be clear.*Your paper needs to be relatively free from errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation.The Allegory of the Cave
And now, I said, let me show in a figure 1
GLAUCON. The how far our nature is enlightened or unenlight-
den, the prison ened: – Behold! human beings living in an under-
ers: the light at ground den, which has a mouth open towards the
a distance;
light and reaching all along the den; here they have
been from their childhood, and have their legs and
the low wall,
and the moving
figures of which
the shadows
are seen on the
opposite wall of
the den
necks chained so that they cannot move, and can
only see before them, being prevented by the chains
from turning round their heads. Above and behind
them a fire is blazing at a distance, and between the
fire and the prisoners there is a raised way; and you
will see, if you look, a low wall built along the way,
like the screen which marionette players have in
front of them, over which they show the puppets.
I see
And do you see, I said, men passing along the 3
wall carrying all sorts of vessels, and statues and fig-
ures of animals made of wood and stone and various
materials, which appear over the wall? Some of them
are talking, others silent.
You have shown me a strange image, and they 4
are strange prisoners.
Like ourselves, I replied; and they see only their 5
own shadows, or the shadows of one another, which
the fire throws on the opposite wall of the cave?
True, he said; how could they see anything but 6
the shadows if they were never allowed to move
their heads?
And of the objects which are being carried in 7
like manner they would only see the shadows?
Yes, he said.
And if they were able to converse with one
another, would they not suppose that they were
naming what was actually before them?
Very true.
And suppose further that the prison had an 11
echo which came from the other side, would they
not be sure to fancy when one of the passers-by
spoke that the voice which they heard came from
the passing shadow?
No question, he replied.
To them, I said, the truth would be literally 13
nothing but the shadows of the images.
That is certain
And now look again, and see what will naturally 15
follow if the prisoners are released and disabused
of their error. At first, when any of them is liberated
and compelled suddenly to stand up and turn his
neck round and walk and look towards the light, he
will suffer sharp pains; the glare will distress him, and
The prisoners
would mistake
the shadows
for realities.
PLATO: The Allegory of the Cave
And when
released, they
would still
persist in
the superior
truth of the
When dragged
upwards, they
would be
dazzled by
excess of light.
he will be unable to see the realities of which in his
former state he had seen the shadows; and then con-
ceive someone saying to him, that what he saw before
was an illusion, but that now, when he is approach-
ing nearer to being and his eye is turned towards more
real existence, he has a clearer vision—what will be his
reply? And you may further imagine that his instruc-
tor is pointing to the objects as they pass and requiring
him to name them, —will he not be perplexed? Will he
not fancy that the shadows which he formerly saw are
truer than the objects which are now shown to him?
Far truer.
And if he is compelled to look straight at the 17
light, will he not have a pain in his eyes which will
make him turn away to take refuge in the objects of
vision which he can see, and which he will conceive
to be in reality clearer than the things which are now
being shown to him?
True, he said.
And suppose once more, that he is reluctantly 19
dragged up a steep and rugged ascent, and held fast
until he is forced into the presence of the sun him-
self, is he not likely to be pained and irritated? When
he approaches the light his eyes will be dazzled,
and he will not be able to see anything at all of what
are now called realities.
Not all in a moment, he said.
He will require to grow accustomed to the sight 21
of the upper world. And first he will see the shadows
best, next the reflections of men and other objects in
the water, and then the objects themselves; then he
will gaze upon the light of the moon and the stars
and the spangled heaven; and he will see the sky
and the stars by night better than the sun or the
light of the sun by day?
Last of all he will be able to see the sun, and 23
not mere reflections of him in the water, but he will
see him in his own proper place, and not in another;
and he will contemplate him as he is.
He will then proceed to argue that this is 25
he who gives the season and the years, and is the
guardian of all that is in the visible world, and in a
At length
they will see
the sun and
his nature.
They would then
pity their old
of the den.
certain way the cause of all things which he and his
fellows have been accustomed to behold?
Clearly, he said, he would first see the sun and 26
then reason about him.
And when he remembered his old habitation, 27
and the wisdom of the den and his fellow
do you not suppose that he would felicitate himself
on the change, and pity them?
Certainly, he would.
And if they were in the habit of conferring hon- 29
ors among themselves on those who were quick-
est to observe the passing shadows and to remark
which of them went before, and which followed
after, and which were together; and who were there-
fore best able to draw conclusions as to the future,
do you think that he would care for such honors
and glories, or envy the possessors of them? Would
he not say with Homer,
Better to be the poor servant of a poor master,
and to endure anything, rather than think as they do
and live after their manner?
Yes, he said, I think that he would rather suffer 30
anything than entertain these false notions and live
in this miserable manner.
Imagine once more, I said, such an one coming 31
suddenly out of the sun to be replaced in his old sit-
uation; would he not be certain to have his eyes full
of darkness?
To be sure, he said.
And if there were a contest, and he had to com- 33
pete in measuring the shadows with the prison-
ers who had never moved out of the den, while his
sight was still weak, and before his eyes had become
steady (and the time which would be needed to
acquire this new habit of sight might be very con-
siderable), would he not be ridiculous? Men would
say of him that up he went and down he came with-
out his eyes, and that it was better not even to think
of ascending; and if any one tried to loose another
and lead him up to the light, let them only catch the
offender, and they would put him to death.
No question, he said.
This entire allegory, I said, you may now 35
append, dear Glaucon, to the previous argument;
But when they
returned to the
den, they would
see much worse
than those
who had never
left it.
PLATO: The Allegory of the Cave
The prison is
the world of
sight, the light
of the fire is
the sun
the prison house is the world of sight, the light of
the fire is the sun, and you will not misapprehend
me if you interpret the journey upwards to be the
ascent of the soul into the intellectual world accord-
ing to my poor belief, which, at your desire, I have
expressed-whether rightly or wrongly God knows.
But, whether true or false, my opinion is that in the
world of knowledge the idea of good appears last of
all, and is seen only with an effort; and, when seen,
is also inferred to be the universal author of all things
beautiful and right, parent of light and of the lord of
light in this visible world, and the immediate source
of reason and truth in the intellectual; and that this is
the power upon which he who would act rationally
either in public or private life must have his eye fixed.
I agree, he said, as far as I am able to under- 36
stand you.
extraordinary in
the philosopher
being unable to
see in the dark
Moreover, I said, you must not wonder that 37
those who attain to this beatific vision are unwilling
to descend to human affairs; for their souls are ever
hastening into the upper world where they desire to
dwell; which desire of theirs is very natural, if our
allegory may be trusted.
Yes, very natural.
And is there anything surprising in one who 39
passes from divine contemplations to the evil state
of man, misbehaving himself in a ridiculous man-
ner; if, while his eyes are blinking and before he has
become accustomed to the surrounding darkness,
he is compelled to fight in courts of law, or in other
places, about the images or the shadows of images of
justice, and is endeavoring to meet the conceptions
of those who have never yet seen absolute justice?
Anything but surprising, he replied.
Anyone who has common sense will remem-
ber that the bewilderments of the eyes are of two
kinds, and arise from two causes, either from coming
out of the light or from going into the light, which is
true of the mind’s eye, quite as much as of the bod-
ily eye; and he who remembers this when he sees
anyone whose vision is perplexed and weak, will
not be too ready to laugh; he will first ask whether
that soul of man has come out of the brighter life,
and is unable to see because unaccustomed to the
dark, or having turned from darkness to the day
The eyes may
be blinded in
two ways, by
excess or by
defect of light.
The conversion
of the soul is
the turning
round the eye
from darkness
to light.
is dazzled by excess of light. And he will count the one
happy in his condition and state of being, and he will
pity the other, or, if he have a mind to laugh at the soul
which comes from below into the light, there will be
more reason in this than in the laugh which greets him
who returns from above out of the light into the den.
That, he said, is a very just distinction.
But then, if I am right, certain professors of edu- 43
cation must be wrong when they say that they can
put a knowledge into the soul which was not there
before, like sight into blind eyes.
They undoubtedly say this, he replied.
Whereas, our argument shows that the power 45
and capacity of learning exists in the soul already;
and that just as the eye was unable to turn from
darkness to light without the whole body, so too
the instrument of knowledge can only by the move-
ment of the whole soul be turned from the world of
becoming into that of being, and learn by degrees to
endure the sight of being, and of the brightest and
best of being, or in other words, of the good.
Very true.
And must there not be some art which will 47
effect conversion in the easiest and quickest manner;
not implanting the faculty of sight, for that exists
already, but has been turned in the wrong direction,
and is looking away from the truth?
Yes, he said, such an art may be presumed.
And whereas the other so-called virtues of the 49
soul seem to be akin to bodily qualities, for even
when they are not originally innate they can be
implanted later by habit and exercise, the virtue of
wisdom more than anything else contains a divine
element which always remains, and by this conver-
sion is rendered useful and profitable; or, on the other
hand, hurtful and useless. Did you never observe the
narrow intelligence flashing from the keen eye of a
clever rogue-how eager he is, how clearly his paltry
soul sees the way to his end; he is the reverse of blind,
but his keen eyesight is forced into the service of evil,
and he is mischievous in proportion to his cleverness?
Very true, he said.
But what if there had been a circumcision of 51
such natures in the days of their youth, and they
The virtue of
wisdom has a
divine power
which may be
turned either
towards good
or towards evil.

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