34 pages 1 hour read


Allegory Of The Cave

Nonfiction | Essay / Speech | Adult | BCE

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Key Figures

Character Analysis


Socrates is the first-person narrator of The Republic, written by his student and mentee, Plato. Little is known of him as a historical figure except through the representations of him that survive via his disciples, especially Plato. The Socrates who narrates The Republic is sometimes called the “Platonic Socrates,” and scholars have questioned whether this representation is truly accurate, or whether he may be a veiled version of Plato himself. These narratorial ambiguities aside, the Socrates represented in “The Allegory of the Cave” (and throughout The Republic), is a wise teacher who, through a series of dialogues, reveals his philosophies on the nature of ethics, society, and the ideal government. In this section, Socrates does the vast majority of the talking, formulating a hypothetical scenario (the allegory itself) in order to illustrate to his audience, Glaucon, his theory of wisdom, how it can and should be attained, and the responsibilities of those who attain it. Throughout the Allegory, Socrates frames his ideas in the form of questions (“…would they not suppose that their words referred only to those passing shadows which they saw?” [paragraph 9, line 1]), which allows him to come off not so much as a