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Word Count: 538
An allegory is a tale that uses symbolic characters and objects The Allegory of the Cave metaphorically presents a persons travels from ignorance to wisdom and also reveals the philosophers obligation to society Socrates begins the story like this Imagine prisoners living in a cave Since childhood they have been chained facing the rear wall of the cave unable to move their legs or to turn their heads Now imagine that some distance behind them and on a higher level of the cave floor a fire blazes Between the fire and the prisoners is a low wall behind which people hold up puppets representing animals human beings and other objects These puppeteers speak seeming to give the puppets voices The fire casts the puppets shadows on the rear wall These shadow puppets are the only reality the prisoners have ever known One day one of the prisoners is freed from his bonds and forced to turn toward the fire The sudden burst of light is painful and he cannot see the puppets clearly At the same time the prisoner is told that what he believed was reality is in fact an illusion Because of his ingrained belief in the reality of the shadows and because he cant see the puppets he refuses to believe that his life has been spent looking at shadows of imitation objects Behind the fire there is a long narrow path that goes to the caves entrance The prisoner wants to return to his chains but he is dragged outside into the sunlight This light is even more painful than the firelight He desperately tries to flee but he is again forced to stay in the light First he is able to see shadows of trees people and other things then reflections in water Eventually he looks at the things of the world themselves and goes on to contemplate the heavenly objects-stars the moon
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