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Plato's Apology, The Allegory of The Cave, and The Truman Show: Analysis

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Every person has their own way of looking at things. Within a person’s own limited perceptions, they may believe they are right. However, if you look at the situation in a different way, they may not seem right. In Plato’s Apology, The Allegory of the Cave, and the Truman Show the main idea discussed is different people’s perspectives. In these stories, the writer or producer wants the reader to understand how different views on ideas can lead to new ways of thinking.

Perspective is the biggest topic the author tries to put across to the reader. Socrates was told that “there is no man wiser than he” (Plato 3). This claim puzzles Socrates as he believed that he knew very little. In his search to find someone wiser than himself, Socrates finds that the reason he is considered the wisest is because he acknowledges his own ignorance. He believes many people think they know more than they do, which makes them oblivious of their own flaws. When you admit that you do not know everything, you show that you are open and willing to hear others opinions. As humans, we tend not to understand the true reality of our world because we are confined to living our own lives. We think that we understand everything we see in the world, however, we just perceive the shadows of the true things that make up our world. In the Allegory of the Cave Plato states, “When he approaches the light his eyes will be dazzled, and he will not be able to see anything at all of what are now called realities” (Plato 2). When people are exposed to reality, their views change and they are shown a new way of thinking. When the prisoner escaped from the cave, he was enlightened by all the things that were hidden from him when he lived in the cave. His depth of understanding increased based on his new experiences, rather than the false things he had believed when he was imprisoned.

When put into a different perspective, ideas can change and be interpreted variously. In “The Truman Show”, Truman’s world was a utopia. Everything in his superficial life was controlled by a despot, as Truman grew up having no idea he was being watched every hour of the day by millions across the globe. The director of this movie shows the images that come from the shows cameras. The surveillance like footage from these cameras reveal the distorted reality of the world Truman is living in. The Truman Show is a similar representation of Plato’s Allegory in modern terms. The writer connects Truman’s life to social media today, as viewers are influenced by what they see and hear and believe it to be the truth. The media was one of the main contributors in keeping Truman ignorant of his false life, and was manipulated by Christof, the show’s director, who took himself to be like God in Truman’s life. The prisoner’s guards in the Allegory were also similar to this, by subjecting the prisoners to the false images of what life and its occupants are like. Truman only knew what he was being taught and never questioned his life because he was satisfied. Once he was no longer satisfied, he pushed himself and broke the chains to find out the real truth.

In Plato’s Apology, The Allegory of the Cave, and the Truman Show the main topic pondered upon is how people’s perspectives can affect their opinions. Each person’s thinking is unique and when these thoughts are challenged by new ideas, they can change. In these texts and movies, this same idea is shown through the prisoner escaping the cave and Truman’s fictitious reality.

Works Cited

  1. Niccol, Andrew, and Peter Weir. The Truman Show. Hollywood, CA: Paramount Pictures, 1998.
  2. Plato. “The Allegory of the Cave.” The History Guide.
  3. Accessed 19 September 2019.
  4. Plato. “The Apology”, trans. G.M.A. Grube. Pp 112.130 in Introduction to Western Philosophy. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 2000.       

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