Parable Of The Cave And Road Not

Taken Essay, Research Paper Taking the High Road "The unexamined life is not worth living," In The Apology, Socrates relates that the most important goal in life is the

Taken Essay, Research Paper

Taking the High Road "The unexamined life is not worth living," In The

Apology, Socrates relates that the most important goal in life is the

improvement of the soul. We should search others, our environment, and ourselves

so that we may come to a better understanding of the world. The Parable of the

Cave tells of the journey that Socrates was trying to relate, in that each

person is faced with different realities as we travel to try and reach "the

intellectual world." This journey of enlightenment draws close parallels to

another piece of literature by Robert Frost. In his poem "The Road Not

Taken," he describes how he felt as he came upon the fork in the road and

chose to take the road less traveled "and that has made all the

difference." The use of life as a journey is nothing new to literature, but

with Plato and Frost both show that this journey is not easy and there are many

choices along the way that we must make that will determine the quality of the

life we will lead. The main factor that drew me to the Parable of the Cave was

the way it described our journey through life. It begins by telling us that the

reality we initially see when we are chained down in the cave is nothing more

than an illusion. This is true in my own life in that I was told by my parents

what was right and what was wrong without questioning the reason behind it. They

kept a chain of sorts around me so that I was not harmed by all of the realities

of the world at once, but rather gradually introduced to them as I grew up. As

we are released from bondage, our reality is immediately changed. When we first

look toward the light we "will suffer sharp pains;" as we try to

adjust to this new reality that is suddenly thrown upon us. The bondage that we

experienced in the beginning is no longer there and the full weight of the world

is pressed down on us without the help of others and now responsibility for our

own actions becomes the controlling factor in our life. The light that first

shocked us into reality now causes you to come to a crossroads in life. Looking

directly at the light will cause some pain and suffering, but offers a

"clearer vision" or "turn away and take refuge in the objects of

vision which he can see" and return to the reality of which he was

accustomed, but is only an illusion. Many people are scared to face reality and

would rather turn back to the shelter that they are comfortable with.

Independence and freedom are things these people could live without, so long as

they had someone to lead them. Unfortunately, the majority of people fall into

this category. They become sheep and require a shepherd to guide them through

their lives. The others who can overcome the blinding light are able to ask of

themselves what they are trying to accomplish in their lifetime. They may make

mistakes along the way, but because they had the strength to try, are able to

learn from those mistakes and become more intelligent as they age. Those that

never leave the depths of the cave remain in an illusion. "Ignorance is

bliss," and these people never want to have to struggle with their lives,

but would rather remain without the responsibility the new knowledge would bring

them if they were to walk towards the light. The light allows us to see things

more clearly and this is the goal that we are trying to reach in our lifetime,

but are almost assured of failing. Why then should you constantly fight toward

this goal over adversity and hardship only to fail in the end? The journey is

the most important part of the trip, not the destination. The things learned

along the way will make your life more fulfilling and enjoyable. The Parable of

the Cave shows how this journey can be related to our own lives and the

struggles we face throughout our lifetime. The journey talked of in The Parable

of the Cave has many parallels with the poem by Robert Frost entitled "The

Road Not Taken." The last line of the poem reads, "I took the road not

taken and that has made all the difference." The road usually taken is the

easy road, the road that is the most comfortable to us. This road keeps us

ignorant because we never seek to gain more knowledge by searching and asking

questions. I chose to represent the Parable of the Cave by visually showing the

poem by Frost. It begins on a road that is surrounded by foliage. This acts to

shelter you from the harmful world. The foliage shelters you until you come to a

fork in the road. The road ahead of you is clear of any obstacles for as far as

you can see. The other road to your right begins with a hill and you can not see

what lies ahead. At this fork you must make a decision to continue straight

ahead on the clear path, or take a chance and climb that hill to see what is on

the other side. The clear path is representative of the path that most people

will take, the easy road. This road continues with no obstacles because that is

what you have seen all of your life and are comfortable with this arrangement.

Taking this road would be the same as returning to the depths of the cave once

you were blinded by the light. The road to the right represents the continuance

toward the light at the cave mouth discussed by Plato. This road had obstacles

that will impede your path and slow you down, but do not stop you from

continuing on to the end. The hills are the trials we must face in life if we

are trying to obtain knowledge. The knowledge does not come without

consequences, however, and you must go through trying times (whether it be

self-examination, examination of others, or examination of the environment

around you) before you can move ahead. Whichever road we decide to take, the end

result is the same, death. The roads lead to the same destination, but the paths

to that destination are very different. This is representative of the course of

life that each of us must take, some paths are easier than others, but the more

difficult path leads to a more fulfilling life. The Parable of the Cave shows

the major steps in life that we are all faced with. Those who choose to turn

away from the light would not lead a fulfilling life in the eyes of Plato or

Socrates. Those that choose to continue toward the light take all the

responsibility that comes with that choice. By continuing toward the light they

continue to enlightenment. In order to reach enlightenment, we must question

ourselves and our motives and in doing so will face more trying and pressing

times than those who choose to return to a place that they are comfortable with.

Frost’s poem "The Road Not Taken" very much parallels the thoughts

expressed by Plato. We are faced with many choices in life. The fork in the road

represents those choices we are faced with and once they are made, there is no

turning back. The mistakes made along the way may cause use to stumble or slow

down, but the journey to the end is much more fulfilling if we are willing to

take the road less traveled, for it too could "make all the