Rhetorical Analysis: Allegory of the Cave The text I have used to do my rhetorical analysis is the “Allegory of the Cave” by Plato. In this text, Plato gives an explanation of his idea of the situation of humans in respect to knowledge by telling us an allegory. In his allegory, Plato says that there are a few prisoners seated in a cave behind a small wall facing a big wall. The only thing they can do is looking at the wall in front of them and listen, they cannot even move their neck or the rest of the body since they are tied with ropes.
Behind them and the small wall there is a fire and between the fire and the small wall there is a path where some people are carrying figures of animals and people, in order to reflect the figures in the big wall, so that the prisioners see them. Some of the people carrying the figures are also talking so the prisoners might think that the figures are the ones that are talking instead of real people.
One of the prisoners is released, so he begin seeing more real things, such us the figures that were reflected in the big wall (which represents the reflection of the objects in the exterior world), the humans who were carrying them and finally the light of the fire (which represents the sun). The cave has an exit, so he goes to the exit and when he is outside the cave he is blinded by the light of the sun. He will first see the reflections on the water, the objects, the sky during the night with the stars and the moon and eventually the sun during the day.
Plato uses all the time symbolic words, he refers to the humans as the prisoners, what we see as the shadows, the word of the ideas as the nature, the idea of good as the sun and the released prisioner as the philosopher. Plato understands that only a person how has gotten the idea of good can get the best knowledge since the idea of good is the best of the virtues possible, and he also understands that only the people who have gotten the idea of good and thus the best and rightest knowledge can act in a just, moral and ethic way.
So, this is why Plato believes that only philosophers (the people who have already achieved the idea of good) can be the governors of the State. As they are the most virtuous people they will always try to get the welfare of the citizens. If they try to govern by themselfs with his own rules that would be a tyranny, but since they are just they will try to have a democratic government since it is the best for all the citizens.
In his allegory, Plato says that the released prisoner will try to release the other prisoners in the cave so that they can see the real world and stop living in a lie, but unfortunately, they would not do it since the released prisoner that comes from the outside of the cave would have to get used again to the darkness so the prisoners would believe that it is not worth it to go outside since your sight gets worse and they will kill him if he try to release them as they did with Socrates when he was trying to show the people his thoughts.
Therefore, Plato believes that once you get the idea of good (the prisoner leaves the cave and see the sun) you realise that what you where watching was not true and what you see now is true, the real world (the prisioner stops thinking that the shadows of the figures are real and realises that the real world is outside the cave). This is why the philosopher who can become then a governor of the State want the rest of people to get the idea of good so that everybody can live in the best and fairest way.
In my opinion, we have to consider that Plato was a philosopher that lived more than two thousand years ago and his thoughts about the world and the human being are absolutely different from the current ideas. This is what might do the text difficult to understand at first, since his thoughts are very abstract, when he talks about objects he refers to them us unreal things, he says that the real things are the ideas and this might seems confusing because as we see the world nowadays the most real things for us are the ones that we can appreciate with our senses.
In addition to this, I have to say that as I see it I believe that Plato’s thought is an utopia as any governor could never be the most virtuous person that is always just and right. As human beings we are, we can never be perfect and thus act in a perfect way, we can have the intention of acting in the best way, but there are a lot of opposed forces to the government from the opposition parties that impede the government to act how it wants even when they are doing the right thing.
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