- Free Essays, Term Papers & Book Notes

Allegory of the Cave

By:   •  Essay  •  1,521 Words  •  November 20, 2009  •  1,418 Views

Page 1 of 7

Essay title: Allegory of the Cave

Human Freedom

Freedom in mind, freedom in nature, and freedom in subjectivity of individual are three kinds of freedoms. However, freedom should be expressed within the limits of reason and morality. Having freedom equals having the power to think, to speak, and to act without externally imposed restrains. As a matter of fact, finding freedom in order to live free is the common idea in Plato with “The Allegory of the Cave”; Henry David Thoreau with “ Where I lived and What I lived for”; and Jean Paul Sartre with “ Existentialism”. Generally, Plato, Thoreau, and Sartre suggested that human life should be free. They differ in what that freedom is. Plato thinks it is found in the world of intellect, Thoreau thinks freedom is found in nature, and Sartre thinks freedom is found in subjectivity of individual.

Plato found freedom in the world of intellect. Let’s take a look at his quote:

“The prison house is the world of sight, the light of fire is the sun, and you will not misapprehend me if you interpret, the journey upwards to be ascent of the soul into the intellectual world according to my poor belief, which, at your desire, I have expressed- whether rightly or wrongly god knows.” According to Plato, “the prison house” is an endless dark cave for prisoners who were unable to turn from darkness to light. It is also the place where they could see the shadow of the real world. “Sight”, of course, becomes an abstract word in this quote. Its universal definition is the ability to see or the act of seeing thing. In other words, using the conceptual primitives which reduce the complex meaning to its core form “sight” redefined as, to see with eyes. In Indo- European, the root word of sight is sekw-2 .The concrete word of sight is spectacle which means something that can be seen or view, especially something of a remarkable or impressive nature. Something can be seen or view is the darkness and the shadow of the real world they open their eyes, and something of a remarkable or impressive nature is what they saw in the intellectual world when they close their eyes and think forward. “Spectacle” is the big endless and dark cave for the prisoners with their eyes open, but when they close their eyes, they will see the beautiful spectacles of the real life, of a bright future in the invisible world, or the intellect world. For examples, when people go to the circuit, they will see the elephants, cotton candies, and lousy noises. If they close their eyes, they will see different incredible things at the circuit in the intellectual world. Instead of seeing those jumping elephants, cotton candies, and lousy noises, they will see the real beautiful circuit with different spectacles in their intellectual world. They will see what they have expected to see, and that is called “freedom of mind”. However, Plato has expressed his freedom of mind in the intellectual world. Once again, the concept of the word “sight” was defined in 1914 by William Shakespeare which states that:

“Mine eye my heart thy picture’s sight would bar

My heart mine eye the freedom of that right?”

Shakespeare described his freedom similarly to Plato. He talked about his freedom of love with a woman despite being blindly in love with her. Moreover, Shakespeare was able to express his freedom of love. He had freedom to love anyone that he gave his heart to. He blindly fell in love with that woman. Shakespeare expressed the freedom of his love in his mind by loving the beautiful woman. Compared to Shakespeare, Plato described freedom of prisoners in the intellectual world. However, they both meant people can do anything in the intellectual world or in people’s mind.

“Where I lived and what I lived for”, was written by Henry David Thoreau, discusses how freedom is found in nature. His quote, “I want to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life.”, deals with the freedom of man and how he can do anything in this essential life. Thoreau went to live in the woods and dwelt with nature. Moreover, he wanted to live deep and enjoyed this natural life. The word “deep”, from this quote, is the abstract word. Dheub- is the India European root word of “deep”. Hollow, derived from Old English, must be the concrete word of “deep”. Why does hollow relate to deep? “Deep” is actually defined as extending far downward below a surface. Hollow means having a cavity, gap, or space within. In effect, it also means a person doesn’t think much about life, but rather nature. Thoreau wanted to live his life like a hollow place that no one can find him, so he could forget all those sorrowful things in the past, and harmonize with nature. He wanted to throw

Continue for 6 more pages »  •  Join now to read essay Allegory of the Cave and other term papers or research documents
Download as (for upgraded members)
Citation Generator

(2009, 11). Allegory of the Cave. Retrieved 11, 2009, from

"Allegory of the Cave" 11 2009. 2009. 11 2009 <>.

"Allegory of the Cave.", 11 2009. Web. 11 2009. <>.

"Allegory of the Cave." 11, 2009. Accessed 11, 2009.