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Applying Plato's Allegory Of The Cave

1709 words - 7 pages

Applying Plato's Allegory of the Cave to Oedipus Rex, Hamlet,and Thomas Becket

Plato was one of the greatest philosophers of all time. He is recognized all over the world as one of the greatest minds of all time. Knowledge is required under compulsion has not hold on the mind.(Durant 24). Plato's dialogues are the fruit of a rare mind; but the could not have kept their perennial freshness if they had not somehow succeeded in expressing he problems and the convictions that are common to Plato's age and to all later ages. Genius alone is not enough; or perhaps it were wiser to say that we recognize genius only in the power of divination that overleaps the boundaries of a special time and place.(Jowett xi). Although Plato did not come up with the Allegory of the Cave, Socrates did, he transcribed it. In their own ways, Oedipus Rex, Hamlet, and Thomas Becket, prove that one must break the chains of the cave to discover the truth. In view of Plato's Allegory of the Cave, several literary works contain characters who break from the shadows of the cave to witness "the real world".

Plato's Allegory of the Cave, presents Socrates instructing one of his students to imagine that there was a cave that was totally dark, except from the light that comes from the entrance and from a fire. The student was instructed then to imagine that the inhabitants of the cave have their necks and legs chained to the wall, impossible for the inhabitants to move. The people who control the cave place objects in front of the fire so that the inhabitants of the cave only see the shadows of the objects that the people want them to see. The chained inhabitants never get to see the real objects, only the distorted images of the objects. Furthermore, the inhabitants of the cave perceive the distorted objects as real, not the actual objects as being real. Socrates, then tells the student to imagine if the inhabitants of the cave were suddenly freed of the chains. The inhabitants would be in agonizing pain, for the first time in their lives the individuals can stand and move their heads. Their bodies are not used to being in such positions. The inhabitants of the cave, now are able to behold the light glimmering outside the cave. The inhabitants who were only adapted to only darkness, perceive light. The light stabs at their eyes, it is too painful for these individuals. The inhabitants cannot perceive the actual object in front of the fire as reality, but see the distorted images on the cave walls as being reality. These people of the cave must gradually be exposed the real world, if they are to accept the real world as reality. This parable, told by Socrates and recorded by Plato, presents the concept that true enlightenment is slow and agonizing. To discover the truth one must break the chains of the cave and face their destiny.(Gibson).

Oedipus Rex was the King of Thebes. A plague was ravaging Thebes, and the people wanted Oedipus, the king,...

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