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514A - 517A The following comparison represents our nature in respect of education and the absence thereof. Let us imagine a number of prisoners confined in a subterranean cave, and unable to see anything except shadows of images and other such objects, cast by the light of a fire. Such men will believe that shadows of manufactured things are the only truth. If they are released, and led up step by step towards the light, they will turn and flee back into the cave; but if we compel them to emerge, they will gradually grow accustomed to the brightness, and be able to gaze upon the Sun and understand his sovereignty in the domain of visible things. Pity for their former friends will then begin to mingle with joy at their own escape. Should they redescend into their former place, the darkness will at first affect their vision, and expose them to the laughter of the others, who will, it may be, lay hands upon their deliverer and slay him.

ff. The simile of the Cave presents us with a picture of the life of the uneducated man (τὴν ἡμετέραν φύσιν παιδείας τε πέρι καὶ ἀπαιδευσίας 514 A: cf. also 515 A). From this point of view it should be compared with Theaet. 172 C —177 C, and (in spite of the different situation) with Phaed. 109 A—E, where the equation is:—Depths of Ocean : Hollows of Earth=Hollows of Earth : The true Earth. Plato bids us connect the Cave with the Line (517 A), and does so himself (l.c., and 532 C). We have seen that the lower segment of the line (AC) is spoken of sometimes as ὁρατόν, sometimes as δοξαστόν (VI 510 B note). Plato does not even now distinguish between the two terms; and since the ἀπαίδευτος is concerned with τὸ δοξαστόν in general rather than with τὸ ὁρατόν exclusively, we shall best apprehend Plato's meaning if we interpret the simile by the following proportion:—Cave : ὁρατὸν s. δοξαστόν = δοξαστόν s. ὁρατόν : νοητόν. See on 517 A and App. I.

ἰδὲ γὰρ κτλ. Empedocles spoke of the terrestrial region as a cave (ἠλύθομεν τόδ᾽ ὑπ᾽ ἄντρον ὑπόστεγον 31 ed. Karsten), and similar expressions occur in the Orphic verses e.g. ταῦτα πατὴρ ποίησε κατὰ σπέος ἠεροειδές (ap. Procl. in Tim. 95 D): see Rohde Psyche^{2} II p. 178 note and Dieterich Nekyia p. 159 note There is however nothing to shew that Plato borrowed the underlying idea, much less the details, of his simile from any previous writer: for the metaphorical application of ἄνω, ὑψόθεν and kindred words in connexion with true παιδεία is a favourite usage of Plato's (cf. Theaet. 175 B, Soph. 216 C, Phaed. 109 A ff.), and the simile might easily have been elaborated from such a metaphor. For a strikingly eloquent imitation see Cic. de nat. deor. II 95 (translated from Aristotle: see Frag. 14. 1476^{a} 34 ff.). With the life of the cave-dwellers Bosanquet aptly compares the account of uncivilized humanity in Aesch. Prom. 447—453. A kindred though not identical figure is employed in Fitzgerald's Omar Khayya/m LXVIII: “We are no other than a moving row Of magic Shadow-shapes that come and go Round with the Sun-illumined Lantern held In Midnight by the Master of the Show.”

ἀναπεπταμένην κτλ. Herwerden suspects corruption, on the ground that the cave is dark, except for the light of the fire. But unless the entrance to the cave is open to the light of day, how are the prisoners ever to emerge, as they ultimately do (515 E)? The εἴσοδος is long (μακρά) and steep (515 E), so that the daylight cannot reach the cave in any case. Prantl is right, I think, in understanding μακράν of length and not width, although Schneider and the English translators apparently hold the other view. See next note.

παρ᾽ ἅπαν τὸ σπήλαιον should (I believe) be taken separately from μακράν. The words define the width of the entrance, which is ‘along the whole of,’ i.e. ‘as wide as,’ the cave. The reason will appear later: see on ὅρα τοίνυν 514 B. The translation “extending along the entire length of the cavern” (D. and V.) seems to render μακράν altogether otiose. See Fig. ii on p. 65.

μένειν τε αὐτοῦ. See cr. n. Hirschig's emendation, which Cobet approves and Hermann and others adopt, I now think right. μένειν is not, I believe, used absolutely in the sense of μένειν αὐτοῦ, which is the meaning required here. It might be possible to understand μένειν as equivalent to μένειν ἀκινήτους, in view of Crat. 426 E and Phaedr. 261 D, but ‘remain motionless’ is not quite suitable in point of sense. Still less does the possible rendering ‘remain by themselves’ fit the situation. On the other hand μένειν τε αὐτοῦ ‘remain where they are,’ ‘remain in one place’ (cf. I 327 C, II 371 C), corresponds exactly to ἐν δεσμοῖς τὰ σκέλη, just as εἴς τε τὸ πρόσθεν μόνον ὁρᾶν echoes ἐν δεσμοῖς τοὺς αὐχένας. The τετε after καὶκαί suggests that Plato intended this correspondence. There is nothing to be said for Herwerden's proposal to insert ἀκινήτους.

ὑπὸ τοῦ δεσμοῦ κτλ. “Puerile interpretamentum” says Herwerden, quite superfluously. Hirschig's ἀδυνατοῦντας for ἀδυνάτους is no improvement. The word, like ὄντας, depends of course on ἰδέ. For καόμενον, Hirschig, with Cobet's approval, conjectures καομένου, and so Baiter also reads: but καομένου leaves αὐτοῖς out in the cold. “Vide ne φῶς πυρὸς ita in unam notionem coalescant, ut alterius attributum simul etiam alteri conveniat” Hermann. This explanation is correct: cf. 517 B.

ἐπάνω ὁδόν . ἐπάνοδον (Badham), which means ‘ascensum,’ is out of place here. ἐπάνω means only that the road is at a higher elevation than the prisoners (so also Schneider): it should not be taken with ὁδόν in the sense of a ‘raised way’ (Jowett). There is no reason why the ὁδός should be raised above the level of the ground, and it is unnecessarily harsh to construe the adverb with the noun. The fact that verbal nouns occasionally take an adverb in Plato (see on IV 434 C) does not justify Jowett's construction in this passage.

ὥσπερ τοῖς θαυματοποιοῖς κτλ. As in a Punch and Judy show. Cf. [Arist.] de Mundo 6. 398^{b} 16 ff. οἱ νευροσπάσται μίαν μήρινθον ἐπισπασάμενοι ποιοῦσι καὶ αὐχένα κινεῖσθαι καὶ χεῖρα τοῦ ζῴου καὶ ὦμον καὶ ὀφθαλμὸν κτλ. (Blümner, Privatalterth. p. 503 note 5, where other references are given). I agree with the Oxford editors in holding that τῶν ἀνθρώπων denotes the performers, and not, as Schneider and others translate, the spectators. οἱ ἄνθρωποι could not, without further specification, stand for the spectators, and no further specification is given. But Jowett and Campbell are, I think, in error when they distinguish between the θαυματοποιοί and the ἄν- θρωποι, and suppose that the θαυματοποιός is “not the actual exhibitor or puller of the strings, but the master of the show.” The ἄνθρωποι and the θαυματοποιοί are the same, and Plato might, if he had been so minded, have written ὥσπερ τοῖς θαυματοποιοῖς πρὸ ἑαυτῶν κτλ. The substitution of τῶν ἀνθρώπων for ἑαυτῶν puts the matter in a more objective way, and has also a contemptuous effect.

ὅρα τοίνυν κτλ. τοίνυν is ‘also’ (I 339 D note). The low wall which crosses the εἴσοδος at a point between the prisoners and the fire intercepts the shadows of the παραφέροντες: but the σκεύη which they carry, presumably on their heads, overtop the wall, and are reflected on the wall of the cave in front of the prisoners. See Fig. ii on p. 65. Plato adopts various devices in order to suggest a due proportion between the objects inside and outside the cave in point of reality. Thus (1) the typical examples ἀνδριάντες etc. are themselves images of the natural objects of the superior ὁρατόν: (2) the originals of the Cave are all (except the prisoners themselves 515 A) σκευαστά, whereas those of the superior ὁρατόν are —primarily speaking—φυτευτά (for the significance of this see 532 C note): (3) the contents of the Cave, both originals and shadows, may be regarded as less luminous and true than the ὁρατά outside, because they derive their light and truth, not from the Sun, but from an artificial Fire (see also on 517 C). The interpretation of the simile is to be sought in the δοξαστόν generally as well as in the ὁρατόν in particular (see on 517 A), but we need not suppose that every detail is significant. Comparisons have been made between the παραφέροντες and (in the ὁρατόν) δαίμονες (Campbell II p. 16, comparing Tim. 43), or (in the δοξαστόν) Sophists etc. (Shorey, Idea of Good etc. p. 238). The latter analogy is the more fruitful, but neither of them is altogether free from difficulty, and Plato may have intended the παραφέροντες only as part of the machinery of his similitude. If the Cave is to represent the world of τὰ πολλά, it must have a semblance of life and motion; and without the παραφέροντες the shadows would be motionless and dead.

οἷον εἰκὸς should be taken with what follows: cf. IV 419 A note

φθεγγομένους merely prepares the way for 515 B εἰ καὶ ἠχὼ κτλ., and beyond this, it has, I think, no meaning. It certainly does not “prepare for the science of harmonics” (as J. and C. hold): see 532 B note and App. I.

τῶν παραφερόντων (bracketed by Baiter) is natural enough, παρὰ τοῦτο τὸ τειχίον φέροντας being too distant to cause difficulty.

τί δέ; τῶν παραφερομένων κτλ. After τοῦτο supply οἴει ἂν ἑωρακέναι αὐτούς. I have placed a mark of interrogation after τί δέ, in order that τῶν παραφερομένων may have its proper emphasis: cf. V 470 A note

οὐ ταῦτα κτλ.: ‘do you not suppose they would believe that they were naming these particular passing objects which they saw?’ They have never seen anything of the real παριόντα (or παραφερόμενα): therefore (οὖν) they suppose themselves to be naming, i.e. using the name of, not (as is in point of fact the case) the real παριόντα, but only these παριόντα which they see. For example, they call the shadow of a table ‘a table,’ and in so doing they are, without knowing it, naming, not, as they suppose, the shadow, but the substance. J. and C. remark that “παριόντα is rather confusing as it might signify either the shadows” (cf. 516 C) “or the realities” (cf. 515 D). True: but ταῦτα τὰ παριόντα, ἅπερ ὁρῷεν can signify only the shadows. The corruption παρόντα for παριόντα (see cr. n.) is easy, and occurs in some MSS at 516 C (where παριόντα again=παριοῦσαι σκιαί). Plato means (to interpret the allegory) that what the ἀπαίδευτος calls a substance is only a shadow. For other views of this sentence see App. IV.

εἰ καὶ ἠχὼ κτλ. The voices heard by the ἀπαίδευτος are as shadowy as the forms he sees: βλέποντες ἔβλεπον μάτην, | κλύοντες οὐκ ἤκουον, ἀλλ᾽ ὀνειράτων | ἀλίγκιοι μορφαῖσι τὸν μακρὸν βίον | ἔφυρον εἰκῆ πάντα (Aesch P. V. 447—450).

νομίζοιεν κτλ. νόμος, not φύσις, is the watchword of ἀπαιδευσία.

σκευαστῶν is said by J. and C. to be “diminutive images of ordinary artificial objects,” but the word does not convey this meaning. For the purposes of this simile σκευαστά are reckoned as less real than φυτευτά: see on ὅρα τοίνυν κτλ. 514 B and φαντάσματα θεῖα 532 C. Plato takes no account of the fact that the prisoners also see shadows of themselves (515 A).

λύσιν κτλ. According to 532 B (where see note), λύσιντῶν ἄλλων εἴδωλα (516 A) symbolizes Plato's προπαιδεία or inferior νοητόν.

εἰ φύσει τοιάδε κτλ. φύσει has been variously interpreted as follows. (1) ‘φύσει est revera’ (Ast, Stallbaum): (2) ‘si res et natura ferret,’ ‘in the course of nature’ (Schneider, J. and C., D. and V.): (3) ‘φύσει, no one knows how’ (Nettleship Lect. and Rem. II p. 260). None of these explanations is either linguistically easy or altogether suitable in point of meaning. It should be remembered that the condition of the prisoners, shut out as they are from light and truth amid the darkness of the Cave, is ‘unnatural’ (παρὰ φύσιν) in the Platonic sense of the word (see IV 443 B note). Their release is therefore a return to their true nature, and may for this reason be described as ‘natural.’ This, I think, is what Plato means to suggest by φύσει. It is true, as we are presently told (515 E βίᾳ), that force has to be employed in order to drag the prisoners on high; but their deliverance is none the less ‘natural’ in Plato's way of thinking. Schleiermacher and Herwerden wish to read οἵα τις ἂν εἴη φύσει, εἰ τοιάδε κτλ. The fact that εἰ was omitted by A^{1}, and is absent from five other MSS, may appear to favour this conjecture. We might suppose that εἰ fell out by ὁμοιοτέλευτον after φύσει, disappeared altogether from several MSS, and was wrongly replaced in A. (The evidence of Π is unfortunately wanting here.) But on this view it is difficult to see what φύσει adds to οἵα τις ἂν εἴη, and for this and other reasons I prefer the solution which I have given.

τὸ φῶς is the light of the fire (514 B): contrast αὐτὸ τὸ φῶς 515 D.

ἀναβλέπειν . ἀνα- is appropriate, for the fire is ἄνωθεν (514 B). Education always points upward in Plato (514 A note).

ἐγγυτέρω. It is needless to add <ὢν>, as I formerly did (with Richards, who compares I 330 E). The copula is easily supplied, especially with τετραμμένος following.

ὀρθότερον and not ὀρθότερα (as seems to be generally believed, even by J. and C.) is the reading of A. The adverb (‘more truly sees’) can alone be justified. For the meaning see VI 490 B note

βλέποι. The indicative βλέπει (which I formerly read, with q, Flor. U, Bekker and others) would be more usual, “in an indirect quotation depending on an optative which refers to the future” (Goodwin MT. p. 61). But the rule which excludes the optative in such cases is not absolute, as appears from Dem. 16. 5 (cited by Goodwin l.c.), and ἔχοι in VIII 544 A is in principle the same as βλέποι here. For the collocation of indicative (ἑώρα) with optative Schneider quotes Phaed. 96 B and 95 D.

καὶ δὴ κτλ. ἀπορεῖν is almost a technical term of Socrates' dialectic (cf. Xen. Mem. III 10. 7 and Theaet. 149 A ff.), but Plato has in mind the effect of his own προπαιδεία, as appears from 532 B, C.

φεύγειν ἀποστρεφόμενον κτλ. As when a bewildered disputant takes refuge again in the fallacious position from which he has been dislodged: see I 334 B note For δύναται Richards would read δύναιτο, comparing ἅπερ ὁρῷεν in 515 B. δύναται treats the simile as a reality, exactly like ἀμβλυώττει in 516 E: compare also 538 A note, and (for the construction) Phaed. 67 E οὐ πολλὴ ἂν ἀλογία εἴη, εἰ μὴ ἅσμενοι ἐκεῖσε ἴοιεν, οἷ ἀφικομένοις ἐλπίς ἐστιν οὗ διὰ βίου ἤρων τυχεῖν.

ἕλκοι κτλ. Cf. Theaet. 175 B ὅταν δέ γέ τινα αὐτός, φίλε, ἑλκύσῃ ἄνω κτλ. The alliteration of ἀν- (ἀναβάσεως, ἀνάντους, ἀνείη, ἀγανακτεῖν) should be noticed: see on 514 A. With αὐγῆς ἂν ἔχοντα κτλ. we may compare

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