Unit II: The Allegory of the Cave

1. The student will gain a thorough understanding of the significance of Plato and his philosophy in history through research.
2. The student will learn to use the genre of diologue to explore a complicated issue.
3. They will also learn to interpret ambiguities, subtleties,ironies, and nuances.
4. The student will learn how to analyze the author's point of view from different perspectives.

Materials:The Allegory of the Cave  and relevant web sites.

Technology involved: Web creation, web navigating, creation of Discussion Forum.

Activities before reading-
Lesson 1

Aim: What is an allegory? How does Plato use the allegory of the cave to define truth?

  1. Read Somerset Maugham's "Death Speaks", and discuss the story level, meaning level, and the symbolic meaning of each part in the story.
  2. Questions to discuss before reading
  1. Is what you see always what you get?
  2. Is what you see always the truth?
  3. Describe an experience you have had in which something that looked true turned out to be false or looked false turned out to be true.
  4. How is it possible that people can believe in illusion and accept it as reality?
  5. What sometimes happens to people when the illusion is shattered and reality is revealed?

Lesson 2

Aim: What is your interpretation of the meaning of the Allegory?

Motivation: Read aloud the text of the Allegory . Circle or underline any word, phrase, or sentence that is meaningful to you for any reason.


1. Discuss the concept of  allegory.

2. Identify symbolic elements in the story and make a list.

3.List all the contrasting elements in the two "worlds".

4. Interpret the symbolic elements into meaning.

5. Draw a conclusion: what is the meaning of the story-How does Plato define truth?

Activities and Questions after reading-

  1. Make an illustration of the cave.
  2. Describe other "caves" in modern life in which people might be "imprisoned" or feel "imprisoned".
  3. If a prisoner is released from the cave and compelled to look toward the light, what will he experience? Why?
  4. What are the stages of the liberated prisoner's experience outside the cave?
  5. If the liberated prisoner goes back to the cave and tries to explain to his former fellow prisoners, what kind of reaction will he get? Why?
  6. What is truth according to Plato in this allegory?
  7. To what extent do you find Socrates point about human tendency to confuse "shadows" with "reality" relevant today?
  8. What could be the elements that prevent people from seeing the truth, or regarding "shadow" as the "truth"?
Writing Assignment-

Write  to discuss your ideas or personal feelings about the topics in this unit. "Seeing the light" is a common philosophical metaphor in many cultures and religions. Using what you have learned from the "Allegory of the Cave" and from your own experiences, describe a situation in which you or someone you know was liberated from "darkness" and now lives outside of the "cave". Be sure to discuss this situation in terms of sight, vision, blindness, truth, reality, illusion, good, evil, light, and dark as it is appropriate. You may use any genre to express your ideas and feelings (DEF poetry?)


you may use the same genre dialogue to lead your audience to a conclusion you want to draw.


Plato's a) The Allegory of the Cave-the related reading materials

b) The Allegory of the Cave-the text

--The Illustration

Read different interpretations of the Allegory. Take notes as you read, and provide your critique of the essay.

1. Those having Lamps will pass them on to others.

Time Frame: 5 days.

In this project, you need to explore the following issues.

1. Who is Plato? What are some of his accomplishments? What impact does his philosophy have on the contemporary society? Make at least one link to a site where readers can learn about Plato and his philosophy.

2. In The Allegory of the Cave, Plato seems to discuss about truth, physics, aesthetics, literary criticism, etc. (a) Do research and find three different interpretations of  Plato's Cave. (b) List the links of each different interpretation to your web site with brief annotations. (c)After reading , discussing, and analyzing the text, describe your interpretation in a 250-word essay. Explain why you draw such a conclusion.(The first draft will be collectd and read by me before you publish your final draft on the web)

3. Explain how this allegory  has changed your way of thinking? (from your reading log?)-creative writing

4. If there was one thing you have learned from the "Cave" and would like to apply it to your life, what would it be and why?

5. Creative an illustration of the "Allegory".

5. Organize all your discoveries and reflections on your "On Truth" web page including the illustration-

bulletAbout the author-Plato
bulletYour story and interpretation of the "Allegory"
bulletYour reflections on the topic
bulletYour creative writing
bulletResource links on the topic

The Wayfarer by Steven Crave

The Wayfarer,

percieving the pathway to truth,

Was struck with astonishment

It was thickly grown with weeds.

"Ha", he said.

"I see that none has passed this way in a long time."

Later he saw that each weed was a singular knjife.

"Well", he mumbled

Doubtless there are other roads.