The Allegory of the Cave (in Plato’s Republic)

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Area: History and Social Studies, Language Arts and Literature, Other Areas
Grade Level: High School & Beyond, Middle School
Topics: Epistemology, metaphysics
Estimated Time Necessary: 45 minutes

Lesson Plan

Objectives:
Students will analyze a classic reading about the naature of reality
Using the story of The Allegory of the Cave, students will make coneections to modern day society and the nature of our reality and wisdom (or lack of it).

What is an allegory?

Explain to the students that an allegory is a kind of story in which what happens is being compared to something else that is similar and unstated.

Activity

Read the Allegory of the Cave together.

Ask: What do you think the Allegory of the Cave is being compared with?

Then break students up into small groups for a discussion of the discussion questions.  (Each group should choose a reporter to write down the group’s responses and report back to class when class comes back together.)

 

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Discussion Questions

  • Would you want to be released from the cave? Why or why not?
  • What is like the cave in our world?
  • How is the way you understand the world, your ideas and beliefs, shaped by the actions of others?
  • Who has the power to shape your ideas and beliefs? In what ways is this good and in what ways is it not so good?
  • Are there things you know to be true? What are they, and how do you know them?
  • What is Plato trying to tell us in the allegory?
  • How can we know things about the world? Through perception? Through reason?