Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” Modern Comparison

“The Truman Show” and Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” writings were astonishingly similar in theory. Even though these two writings were written almost 2500 years apart, there were many key concepts alike. In both writings there was an imprisonment of a man from childhood to adulthood. Both of these men had a series of events occur as they grew older, which allowed their eyes and mind to see and process the truth of the world and to forget their ignorance. “… I proceed to say, go in to compare our natural condition, so far as education and ignorance are concerned, to a state of things like the following.

This statement from Plato truly states the theory of mind in which is portrayed in both “The Truman Show” and Plato. As stated in Plato’s writing, “Imagine a number of men living in an underground cavernous chamber, with an entrance open to the light, extending along the entire length of the cavern, in which they have been confined, from their childhood…” This quote gives the setting of the men’s position and where the world begins. Truman was in a slightly different confinement, where he was adopted by a producer and put in a “bubble world” from birth.

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In both situations these men were hidden from reality and truth. These men were only shown what someone else thought should be shown. Their lack of education caused them to be ignorant to the truth that was all around them and to not ask questions. A compelling statement which integrates both pieces of writing, “… like the screens which conjurors put up in front of their audience, and above which they exhibit their wonders. ” In Plato this was the shadows that the men could see in front of them, never knowing what was really causing them.

This could only lead to what the imagination would create. Truman was shown a type of “shadows” as well. Truman was shown a city, people, a sky and a life which his mind could only believe was real; but this was far from real. Truman was unknowing watched by millions of people every day and a “real life” daily routine occurred to prevent his head from being “moved” toward reality. The cavern men had chains and shackles which prevented their heads from moving. “Then surely such persons would hold the shadows of those manufactured articles to be the only realities. Until there was a point in time when the men were introduced to the idea of reality, there was never a thought of something more.

Truman had been contacted by several people throughout his life but never understood the message that was trying to be given to him. “Let us suppose that one of them has been released, and compelled suddenly to stand up, and turn his neck round and walk with open eyes towards the light; and let us suppose that he goes through all these actions and pain, and that the dazzling splendour renders him incapable of discerning those objects of which he used formerly to see the shadows.

This occurred to Truman on many occasions and each time he grew more interested in trying to figure the truth out. Truman endured many actions of cover up and many moments of pain and perseverance. Like the cavern men Truman was pointed in the right direction but it was a struggle to get there. However, once there the thoughts of what is and what could be persuaded him to choose reality over the “imaginary life. Finally Plato wrote, “Last of all, I imagine, he will be able to observe and contemplate the nature of the sun, not as it appears in water or on alien ground, but as it is in itself in its own territory. ” Truman was now free to explore, learn and understand what it is really like to live and understand the “good”. “The Truman Show” was really a view on today’s society. Today there is not much trust in the world; relationships are sometimes one sided and real life comes with a lot of pain. By the director, Peter Weir creating an alternate world, he was creating a perfect world.

Maybe this is the director’s hope and dream for society. However, today’s society is full of war, hunger, disaster, hate, violence and poverty; all of this with no ways of stopping it. Ancient Athenian’s society would have been filled with many ideas of how things were and every day people would just accept this; the people would not question things. Today people think that they question ideas and rules, but how many theories, regulations and norms do we accept every day as normal. We today are not much different than those people of Ancient Athenian.

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Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” Modern Comparison. (2016, Dec 11). Retrieved from