Allegory of the Cave Short Summary
Allegory of the cave by Plato is a book that tries to describe the effect education has and its lack of nature.
A Quick Plot Overview
The narrator relates the life of humans on earth to ignorant and miserable living in a cave. The people have chains around their necks and legs, and hence, they cannot move or see what is around them. Fire is present above and also behind them, but they can only see the shadows over walls just like in puppet shows.
Because of this limiting condition, what the humans see on the wall is regarded to be true. This is because they do not have any knowledge about anything outside these caves. The images they see on the walls, and the voices echoed within the cave are the truth they know. When any of humans is let loose and dragged to the opening of the cave, it pains him. His limbs first ache and then the work of having to climb up also pains him, not to mention the brightness of daylight that dazzles him. He has to adapt to the new surroundings. He starts seeing the truth and begins to pity the prisoners left in the cave, darkness and ignorance.
From Plato’s perspective, the cave represents the world of senses that hinders the journey to the new world of reality. The journey upward is the rise to reach the world of intellect, where the concept of goods comes at the end. Once the good has been reached, man has access to all the beautiful things, gains rights according to ethics and truth and reason intellectually.
The narrator believes that legislators should use intellectuals to manage public affairs. At his present, only the greedy and selfish seek administrative positions. These people are more interested in themselves than in serving the public. This is why the states stay in unrest. The intellectuals will be the solution to bring order peace and guide progress.