Philospher King Essay

1596 words - 7 pages

In Plato’s renowned “Allegory of the Cave”, he presents an analogy for the human condition and the platonic ideal of education. Plato believed that these conceptualized ideals of truth were much like the sunlight outside of the cave. If we are equal to those trapped in the cave; then through the purpose of becoming enlightened we find a way to shatter our narrow ways of thinking. Through this process Plato’s philosopher king is realized. Nonetheless, there is a “principle” and a “cause” within the allegory that justify why Plato’s philosopher king has an obligation to rule over the city-state.
First and foremost, the principle rests in Plato’s description of “The Form of the Good”. In ...view middle of the document...

Prisoners are bound to the floor and incapable of turning around to see what goes on behind them. Behind the prisoners lie the puppeteers that cast the shadows in front of the prisoners that encompass their reality. The only truth that each of these prisoners understands are the shadows in front of them. Plato illustrates this when he states, “ then the prisoners would in every way believe than the truth is nothing more than the shadows of those objects (Plato’s Republic, pg.187).” Plato then goes on to discuss what would happen if one of prisoners were suddenly released.
As Plato is elaborating on the cave and describing the predicament of the prisoners, he conveys the point that the prisoners would be inherently mistaken as to what reality truly is. For example, Plato illustrates,” Consider then, when being released from their bonds and cured of their ignorance would naturally be like if something came to pass. What do you think he’d say if we told him what he’d seen before was inconsequential (Plato’s Republic, pg. 187).” This is an essential development to the allegory because it conveys that what we perceive as real from birth is false based on insufficient understanding of what reality is. This portion of the allegory is illustrating to the reader articles (i.e. Shadows on the wall) that can only be grasped by the mind. In other words this line of thinking is described as imagination.
As the prisoner is released, he looks upon the fire and the objects to which he perceives as reality, and thus comes to terms that the new images in front of him are now the accepted forms of reality. Plato illustrates that upon this realization that the prisoners would be naturally inclined to go back to viewing the shadows on the wall because it is a trouble-free and pleasant acceptance of truth. The womb like comfort of the cave and the fear of the bright outside world causes the prisoner to realize he must ascend into the sun. Consequently, the sun is being used as a metaphor to represent truth, knowledge and illumination. Initially the prisoner is blinded by the sun. Plato continues to elaborate on the prisoner’s bewilderment, blindness, and fear. Gradually as time progresses the prisoner is able to absorb his surroundings. Plato describes the prisoner as looking up into the sky and perceiving the form of good, “In the knowable realm the form of the good is the last thing to be seen, and it is reached only with difficulty. However one must conclude that it is the cause of all that is correct and beautiful in anything, that it produces both light and is the source of the visible realm (Plato’s Republic, pg.189).” This marks the transition in the allegory because until recently the prisoner was ignorant to all forms. Therefore, this moment is marked as the moment in which the prisoner achieves understanding.
Plato then goes on to discuss the prisoners newfound realization of his own knowledge and understanding. Plato proposes...

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