34 pages 1 hour read


Allegory Of The Cave

Nonfiction | Essay / Speech | Adult | BCE

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more. For select classroom titles, we also provide Teaching Guides with discussion and quiz questions to prompt student engagement.

Important Quotes

Quotation Mark Icon

“Next, said I, here is a parable to illustrate the degrees in which our nature may be enlightened or unenlightened.”

(Paragraph 1, Line 1)

The opening line of this section of The Republic, “The Allegory of the Cave,” serves to ground the reader in the subject matter right from the beginning, since the narrative quickly turns to an extended metaphor that could otherwise be confusing or disorienting without this opening line, giving the reader a road map of where they will eventually end up.

Quotation Mark Icon

“In every way, then, such prisoners would recognize as reality nothing but the shadows of those artificial objects.”

(Paragraph 13)

This line drives home the central point of the allegory of the cave and begins to move beyond the realm of description of the cave itself and into the analytical portion of the essay, as it touches on a higher truth outside of the hypothetical situation itself: the nature of one’s perceived reality. While this does not actually step into that level of commentary, it gestures towards it and paves the way for the second half of the essay.

Quotation Mark Icon

“Suppose one of them was set free and forced suddenly to stand up, turn his head, and walk with eyes lifted to the light; all these movements would be painful, and he would be too dazzled to make out the objects whose shadows he had been used to see.” 

(Paragraph 15, Line 3)

Here, Plato uses a common experience in order to allow his readers to extrapolate beyond that common experience into this more extreme version. Everyone who can see has had the experience of