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The use of caves in mythology to depict darkness and abandonment has branded it as a symbol of chaos From this perception other associations are made which connect the cave to prejudices malevolent spirits burial sites sadness resurrection and intimacy It is a world to which only few venture and yet its mysticism has attracted the interest of philosophers religious figures and thinkers throughout history To Plato the cave represents the confusion between reality and falsehood Individuals chained deep within the recesses of the cave mistake their shadows for physical existence These false perceptions and the escape from bonds held within the cave symbolize transition into the world of reality Comparatively in the Odyssey Odysseus must first break with Kalypso and set himself free before he can return to Ithaca when he will then be prepared to release Penelope from the bondage of suitors His experience within the cave is in itself a world of fantasy in that Kalypso is a supernatural being and the only way to escape her enslavement is to receive assistance from immortals superior to her The philosopher Francis Bacon also theorized about the myth attached to caves in which he maintained that idols meaning prejudices and preconceived notions possessed by an individual were contained in a persons cave or obscure compartment with intricate and winding chambersBulfinch 52-54 Beliefs that caves were inhabited by negative thoughts or spirits were also held by the native-American culture in which these spirits influenced the outcome of all human strivings and had to be maintained inside caves The souls of the dead were thought to be the most malevolent of all spirits and were held within the deepest parts of the cave In Greek mythology this also holds true according the legend in which Cronus was placed in a cave in the deepest part of the underworld This was done by Zeus and his siblings after waging war against their father for swallowing
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