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Hamlet, Plato, and the Allegory of the CaveHamlet and Rosencratz discuss who or what...

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Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted February 11, 2008 at 2:01 PM via web

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Hamlet, Plato, and the Allegory of the Cave

Hamlet and Rosencratz discuss who or what makes the "shadows" they perceive.  What does Plato have to say about shadows in his "Allegory of the Cave"?  Do any of the characters fare any better than Plato's shades? 

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 12, 2008 at 1:18 PM (Answer #2)

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Plato says that to those who know only the shadows and have not seen the items that really cause the shadows in their true form, the shadows ARE reality.  This is an interesting question as I have read this play a dozen times or more and have never made the connection of the shadows talk with Plato's Allegory.  Cool!  I will have to put this in my notes for next year.  :)

As far as how well the characters fare...none of them fare any better in my opinion.  Of course, R&G didn't see it coming because they are not the brightest bulbs in the fixture.  They never know who is in charge and who is creating the shadows...Hamlet has a better idea, but he, too, is taken down by the poisoned sword he does not foresee.  He also does not consider the fact that he may lose his mother...and she does not take Claudius' hint not to drink from the poisoned cup.

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