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Allegory of the Cave Expository

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Everybody has heard the sayings with the meanings of ignorance is bliss and you never know what you have until you lose it, but many people have not had them actually apply to their lives. In Fahrenheit 451, The Truman Show, and Plato’s The Republic, the characters truly know the meaning of the quotes because they live them. The characters Truman, the prisoner, and Montag in the three stories who escaped the “cave” were better off in their world prior to escaping because they were happier, they suffered pain exiting the fake world, and they were not in as much danger (appositive phrase).

Some people could say the characters were justified in leaving the cave. They did gain more knowledge after all. They knew much more after they came into the light than before. They found out the truth which was positive because it is usually good to know what is true rather than false. And they were more independent people afterwards. They didn’t have to rely on the other people in their life such as the people making shadows in The Republic, Christof in The Truman Show, and the government in Fahrenheit 451.

Although the characters found truth and knowledge, Montag and Truman were happier in their ignorant life. When Montag worked as a fireman burning books, he “grinned the fierce grin” of all men who liked their jobs (4). He was satisfied with his life and his working as a fireman (gerund phrase, object of preposition). After he found out books were indeed good, he was unhappy, aggressive, and in danger for his life. Also, after Clarisse asked if Montag was happy or not, “he felt his smile slide away” and he realized “he was not happy” (10). Montag was blissful before Clarisse asked that question, but the question made him melancholy. He only realized he was not happy after he started his journey out of the cave. In Plato’s allegory of the cave, after he escaped the cave he “will not be too ready to laugh” because he was unhappy and had difficultly trying to believe anything that was being said (Plato) (infinitive phrase). The ex-prisoner felt betrayed and mislead since he had been unintentionally lied to and he found out about it (participle). If he hadn’t left the cave, he would’ve still been happy. All of the characters were happy before they left their fake worlds, but they grew unhappy afterwards.

As well as being terribly dismal, the prisoner, Truman, and Montag faced pain during their ascent to the upper world. Montag fought with his wife about how “[Beatty] might come and burn the house and the ‘family’” (73). Nobody likes fighting, especially with a loved one like a spouse. Montag suffered much pain over his marriage and how Mildred didn’t have the same beliefs as him. Truman suffered pain when he found his father on the street when he was supposedly dead. He had not ever suffered that much pain before the ascent because the director controlled the amount of pain he had to endure. The prisoner who escaped the cave would “suffer sharp pains” and “the glare will distress him” when he started the ascent to the upper world (Plato). When he lived in a world of darkness, he did not suffer any pain from his sight, so he should have stayed in the cave to prevent him from any pain. All three of them should have stayed in their “caves” because nobody wants to suffer.

A source of pain was actually physical pain inflicted by surrounding characters to Truman, Montag, and the prisoner who escaped were in less danger before they escaped the “cave”. Montag had to burn the firemen and the hound because it was “burn them, or they’ll burn [Montag]” (123). In order to not get killed, Montag had to kill other people. Before he started to defend books, he was not in danger of being killed on purpose. In another instance, Montag was shot at by police and random people including a shot “fired by an invisible rifle” (127). This put his life in jeopardy. He never would have been shot at before he was marked a criminal for finding out the truth about books. Truman was almost killed by Christof when he was trying to escape the cave. Truman was sailing to the wall and Christof sent a huge storm toppling Truman off the edge of the boat and almost drowning him. Christof never would have done that before Truman had tried to escape the set of the show. The characters could have been unnecessarily killed or injured for trying to find out the truth when they would have been safe in their fake world.

In all three stories, the characters escaping their fake world should have stayed in their fake world. They would have been happier, would not have had to suffer pain, or be in dangerous situations. In general, a person is better off staying where they came from. The characters should’ve followed the saying “bloom where you’re planted.”

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