Every once in a while, on a Thursday, I post an old school assignment that I have written as a “throwback thursday” type thing when I have an assignment I’ve found that seems interesting enough to post. This time I have an essay I wrote this past year in tenth grade for English, relating Plato’s allegory of the cave to V for Vendetta.
In Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, he says wisdom, and by extension justice, is achieved by seeing things for what they are, not for how they present themselves. He says the wise are the leaders of a just world. V’s allegory is that “happiness is a prison”. His meaning being that, in constantly looking for the things that make you happy, you leave your future self to suffer the consequences of what it took to obtain the happiness, people became trapped by the need. As V tries to create his own “just” world by freeing people of this prison created by happiness. Both allegories relate seeing the truth of the world to a better world.
In Plato’s Allegory, a prisoner is released from the cave and begins to see things as they really are rather than just shadows. When the prisoner returns to the cave and tries to tell the others of what he’s learned, they don’t believe him, because they have never anything thing outside the cave, and because they think what they know is true, they don’t want to be proven wrong. The prisoner who left and then returned can no longer see the things he had seen before, because he knows the shadows are not real, and his eyes are no longer adapted to the darkness.
In V’s allegory, he tells Evey “Happiness is the most insidious prison of all”, telling her how People, including her boyfriend, died because of happiness and that it isn’t worth your freedom. V’s main goal is freedom, freedom for himself, for Evey, for humanity. V takes Evey and shows her her prison, and once she sees it she is no longer confined to it. She has taken her inch of freedom that Valerie writes about in her letter several pages earlier. Just like Plato’s cave prisoner who cannot return now that he knows better, neither can Evey. She has seen the cage and cannot be trapped by it anymore.
The prisoner’s of the cave are happy, because they are ignorant. Now that Evey has lost her ignorance, she is not imprisoned by happiness; this is not to say she can never be happy, it means she will not be falsely happy or be placated into giving up her freedom now that she has it.
The similar theme in both allegories is this, those who see the truth make a better world, though the characters and definition of better differ, the message is the same. As the prisoner sees the truth of the objects and can no longer believe in shadows, Evey sees her prison and no longer finds safety in giving up her freedom. Plato’s prisoner may become a just leader for becoming wise by seeing the truth. Evey may help V in making the world better, by his standards at least, because she doesn’t want to return to her own cave. Even if she wanted to, she couldn’t, she’d be too aware of the freedom she’d be giving up.
This idea of truth making the world better is important, because everyone always wants to think they are doing the right thing. But most of the time we only know which is the right thing after the fact. Both allegories say that those who know the truth beforehand make the best leaders make a better world. And this seems like it holds true, though both allegories are more dramatic than any real world example.