Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” is the most significant and influential analogy in his book, The Republic. This thorough analogy covers many of the images Plato uses as tools throughout The Republic to show why the four virtues, also known as forms, are what create good. The “Allegory of the Cave”, however, is not one of the simplest representations used by Plato. Foremost, to comprehend these images such as the “divided line” or Plato’s forms, one must be able to understand this allegory and all of its metaphors behind it.
In order to further comprehend Plato’s analogy and thought behind “Allegory of the Cave”, we are obliged to learn of his uprising as a philosopher and what his beliefs were. Plato was originated from a wealthy, noble family in Athens, Greece and pursued a career in politics until the execution of his teacher Socrates, then he had turned to lecturing philosophy himself. “Unlike his mentor Socrates, Plato was both a writer and a teacher. His writings are in the form of dialogues, with Socrates as the principal speaker. The allegory presents, in brief form, most of Plato's major philosophical assumptions: his belief that the world revealed by our senses is not the real world but only a poor copy of it, and that the real world can only be apprehended intellectually; his idea that knowledge cannot be transferred from teacher to student, but rather that education consists in directing student's minds toward what is real and important and allowing them to apprehend it for themselves; his faith that the universe ultimately is good; his conviction that enlightened individuals have an obligation to the rest of society, and that a good society must be one in which the truly wise (the Philosopher-King) are the rulers.”
Plato’s philosophical ideas and Theory of Forms are based upon the explanation of his literary device of a “divided line”. This line consisted of four segments and two halves. Within the first half (the smaller half) it presented the sensible world, or the physical world, where we use our senses to recognize our surroundings. The first segment held all that was unreal such as dreams and illusions meanwhile the second segment provided reality, all physical objects. The second half (the larger half), represented the intelligible world, where thought and discovery is made. In the third segment there was mathematical knowledge whereas the fourth and final segment held the highest purpose, the Theory of Forms.
This theory consists of four virtues wisdom, justice, piety and temperance and when combined it creates the Forms of all Forms, the Form of Good. “Plato states that the Form of the Good is the ultimate object of knowledge, although it is not knowledge itself, and from the Good, things that are just gain their usefulness and value. Humans are compelled to pursue the good, but no one can hope to do this successfully without philosophical reasoning.” As we learned in the lecture, the Greeks held man very highly....