Book 7 Summary and Analysis
1. The Allegory of the Cave (514–521b)
Socrates continues his indirect description of the Good with his allegory of the cave. In the cave, men live shackled to the wall, only capable of staring straight ahead. All they can see are the shadows of images carried between a curtain and a fire by some other people, who talk and make noises. The prisoners assume that what they see and hear is reality.
If a man were released and forced outside, the brilliance would be painful and make everything difficult for him to understand. Socrates says the man would prefer the cave, but as his eyes acclimated he would realize that he had been living a life of illusion in a world where he never...
(The entire section is 1386 words.)