Platos Republic: Book Seven and the Allegory of the Cave – Book Report/Review Example

The paper "Plato’s Republic: Book Seven and the Allegory of the Cave" is a perfect example of a philosophy book review.
In Book 7 of his book The Republic, Plato pulled together the ideas of Socrates and Pythagoras with his own ideas to develop his Theory of Forms which is presented in his Allegory of the Cave. In this theory, he suggests that the ultimate goal is to progress through the various levels of reality to the highest level, also known as the greatest good. Plato says mankind is only living in an illusion of life because the reality is beyond the scope of our human physical senses. However, he insists that reality can be discovered through the intellect. In the dialogue Plato presents, Socrates explains “They’ve [human beings] been there since childhood, fixed in the same place, with their necks and legs fettered, able to see only in front of them, because their bonds prevent them from turning their heads around” (187). In the cave, human beings are watching shadows of things dancing across a giant screen, but the actual colors and true shape of these things cannot be perceived. “Then the prisoners would in every way believe that the truth is nothing other than the shadows of those artifacts” (187). Although someone who knows about color and shape would want nothing but to be released, Socrates points out that someone suddenly pulled out of their familiar world would feel pain and discomfort at first. However, after they’ve had a chance to live another way, they will begin to understand their new perception as being the true reality by degrees: “At first he’d see shadows most easily, then images of men and other things in the water, then the things themselves. Of these, he’d be able to study the things in the sky and the sky itself more easily at night, looking at the light of the stars and the moon, than during the day, looking at the sun and the light of the sun” (188). Once they’ve accepted the new reality, they begin to feel compassion for those who are still blinded in the cave and would want to help them. If he can make himself be accepted as a prophet, something that would go against his nature, he can be effective but if he wasn’t fully converted, he will be ridiculed and called crazy and spend his life in doubt and confusion.