Allegory of the Cave

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Allegoryof the Cave

Allegoryof the Caveis a story from Plato’s most famous book, TheRepublic.In this story, Plato advances forth a theory that we all live in aworld of relative ignorance, and that we are comfortable in the waywe perceive things even though the reality might be entirelydifferent. When we get to learn about the reality, it is frightening,and we may want to run back to our comfort zone.

Inthe allegory, Plato compares humans to prisoners that have beenchained in a cave, and they are not able to turn their heads even tosee themselves. All they can see is the wall of the cave. There is afire behind them, and puppeteers use this fire is to cast shadows onthe wall of the cave (Rebecca n. p.). The prisoners can see theshadows and hear the echoes of the objects cast by the puppeteersbehind them.

TheMatrix,a science fiction movie directed by the Wachowski brothers, depictsfrightening future times where reality, as known by human beings, isjust an illusion called “The Matrix” created by sentient machinesto overpower the human population as their bodies’ heat andelectrical activity are used as the source of energy (Marmysz 54).When a computer scientist named “Neo” finds out the truth, hedecides to create a revolution against these machines. This rebellionincludes other people who have been freed from the simulated reality.

Both“The”and “TheMatrix”compare greatly more than they contrast. Just like the prisoners inthe cave, Neo is chained to a wall where machines harvest his bodyenergy so that they can power themselves (Marmysz 55). Both are notaware that the things they perceive to be the actual realities areentirely false. The major similarity is the acceptance of the truththat both Neo and the freed prisoner will have to face before theyacquire a deeper understanding of the fundamental truths. They bothrealize that the senses they need to achieve this knowledge have beensystematically manipulated and deceived and that they need toabstract from the senses so as to gain genuine knowledge.

Anothersimilarity is that higher powers are controlling both worlds. Theprisoner in the cave lives in a world controlled by form holders,while the matrix controls Neo`s world. Both manage to escape and getto know how the actual world is and realize that they have beenprisoners completely unaware that what they knew as real was allfalse. Both characters also get to learn new exploits (Rebecca n.p.). When Neo learns how to manipulate the matrix he can performphysically impossible feats like stopping a bullet midair and flying.In the,the prisoner gets to learn a lot of wisdom and can break high limitsafter breaking free from the cave.

Inboth stories, the characters are faced with a dilemma of whether theywant to leave the world of perceived reality. However, the contrastis that Plato displays the cave negatively the prisoners arechained, the images are dark and distorted, and the echoes aremisconstrued. In the Matrix, the virtual reality is a good one. Lifeis not harsh, and there is so little to worry about.

Anothercontrast in the stories is that while there are forms in the Allegoryof the Cave,there are none in TheMatrix.Also, Plato’s prisoner manages to find a way out of the cave on hisown while Morpheus helps Neo to escape.


Marmysz,John. ThePath of Philosophy: Truth, Wonder, and Distress.Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, 2012. Print.

Rebecca,Vectors. &quotThe Matrix- A Complex, Modern Adaptation of Plato’S&quot., 2012. Web. 11 Oct. 2016.

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