Allegory of the Cave

The prison dwelling and the visible realm are compared to one another in thefirst
sentence of the text.The realm is dark, with the exception of a small, well-kept fire.This
burning fire is almost a representation of the burning sun that shines in the outer world.This sun
is interpreted as the "idea of the good."The fire inside the cave helps guide the prisoners to use
their senses.Without it, they would see nothing, not even their own shadows glowing on the
wall.The physical objects that the prisoner saw were mere illusions.We should never trust
what we see with just our eyes, because illusions will be the result.Then, we would get
comfortable and never second guess it for ourselves.
The realm is not visible, but the concept is true and real, therefore it is merely just an
idea.Only ideas are considered real.The visible is what one sees, but is really just an opinion.
A table, for example, is hard, four legged, has a horizontal surface, and nothing else qualifies as a
table.The concept table is the intelligible, and not visible, but the one particular, concrete table
is visible; it will one day break, but the idea remains.What we see doesn't last forever, it is
constantly changing.This is why the visible is just an opinion.We should, instead, only believe
in things that are long-lasting, those that are non-physical, non-dimensional.They are just ideas,
In the second sentence, the prisoner's upward journey can only be seen in ideas or forms.
This is known as the intelligible realm.We find these ideas in the rational part of the soul.The
outside would is full of reality, but most importantly, it consists of something the prisoner has
never before encountered.This is found outside of the cave, the only home he has ever known.
This is called knowledge.The prisoner does have a downfall of thi


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