One topic that has really resonated with me over the course of this semester was Professor Ewen’s lecture and interpretation of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. In the Allegory of the Cave, Plato describes prisoners chained in the dark recesses of a large cave. They are unable to turn their heads and they can only see the cave wall before them. Behind the prisoners is a fire. There is a roadway between the prisoners and the fire where puppeteers perform a show. The puppets cast shadows on the cave wall, and the prisoners see and hear the shadows and echoes cast by the puppets they can’t actually see. Plato sees this as an allegory of how we can mistake appearances for what is the truth. The shadows of the puppets aren’t the truth, they’re just an element or an interpretation of the truth. I found this whole concept to be extremely interesting especially regarding how it relates to the modern media. We see advertisements and movies and social media posts and think of them as the absolute truth of the world and the people around us, but really they are just shadows or reflections of reality. By thinking this, we become prisoners who can never be really enlightened and who can never see the full truth. If we see the “puppets” for what they really are, then we can be freed.
Catherine Walker – Plato’s Allegory of the Cave