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Plato's "Allegory of the Cave"
Pick one of the following films to watch: The Matrix, Pygmalion, or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Copies are in the library.
- Look to apply Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" to your film. Report your results individually: indicate important scenes, character and plot developments, or actors worth discussing.
- Next consider how your film tells you something new about interpreting Plato's cave. (This is the trickier activity, but consider how film can help us re-envision a philosophical drama like Plato's. List your thought(s) individually below and in the column to the right of your name.
- Then after discussing your observations, give a collective summary of your discoveries below. We will present the findings in class.
| Students Reading The Matrix ||Report of Discussion Points|
The Matrix and Plato's Allegory of the Cave; two distinctly different pieces created in different eras. Despite these cyclopean differences, these two pieces can be connected in eerie ways. When Neo and indeed, anyone else, is in the Matrix, they are in the cave. Socrates tells Glaucon that if a prisoner is released from the cave, its as if someone is telling him that his previous reality was an illusion and he will discover the true reality outside of the cave. Socrates also goes to add that it will be perplexing to the prisoner. Recall the area in the plot of the Matrix where Neo escapes the Matrix. Morpheus must guide him through his change of realities, as well as get Neo accustomed to life outside of the Matrix. It is indeed bewildering and trying to Neo, who could be seen as the light. Also Socrates says, "Will he not fancy that the shadows which he formerly saw are truer than the objects which are now shown to him?" He is right, a scene which reflect this is when Cyrus cuts a deal with the Agents to be rich and famous in the Matrix. He retreats back to the comforts of what he previously knew. There are many connections that can be made between Plato's Allegory of the Cave and The Matrix.
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| Group Report on The Matrix|
|Students Reading Pygmalion||Report of Discussion Points|
|Thom Turner||This film and the accompanying clip are, depending on which character you see as the protagonist can be applied to the "Allegory of the Cave" in two differnet ways. If you look at it from Eliza Doolittles' perspective, (an appropriate name) she is comming from a very real world of poverty and low brow but none the less more populous culture in the tight social class structure of Victorian England. So it would be as if the Professor has drawn her into the "cave" and he has also played the part of the puppeteer with all his teaching of upper crust society all to his own beaugiose ends. IF however you take the professor and his gang of elite as the main characters you could argue that they are the ones that reside in the cave. With all their regalia they have self assurance that in taking eliza from lower being they have somhow shown her the realm of the forms. In reality the whole process of acknowledging her and those of her class has at least started the professor in standing up and noticing the world outside their own lives.|
| Group Report on Pygmalion|
|Students Reading Eternal Sunshine||Report of Discussion Points|
|Jesse McKinney||I think that the movie "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" relates to Plato's "Allegory of the cave" in that when Joel and Clementine were in their relationship they were in the cave. They would fight and tell one another everything they hated about each other but sense they were "in the cave" they couldn't really see the other person's point of view. I think that after they had their memories erased it was like they were out side of the cave. They were seeing their relationship from an outside point of view and therefore could "make things better."|
|Steve Pomerville||After watching the movie "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" and thinking it over the only thing I could come up with is that prior to the memory wiping, Joel and Clementine were in the cave and ignorant about their love for eachother and only thinking of the bad things in their relationship. As Joel was having his memory of Clementine deleted he quickly started to rise out of the cave and become enlightened about how bad of an idea it was to completely erase someone from memory. Joel is first "blinded by the light" and cannot figure out how to save his memories of Clementine. They then decide to meet in Montauk (sp?) after the procedure so they could be together again. Joel is now fully enlightened about his relationship and meets her again.|
|Molly Moshier||Eternal Sunshine related to Plato's Allegory of the Cave to me because it seemed like Clementine and Joel were enlightened by their relationship, and then actually attempted to go back into the dark by having their memories erased. However, this was too hard, especially for Joel because he fought it. After they had found out what had happened, they almost immediately decided to pick up were they had left off and try their relationship again, even though they already knew that the partnership had gone downhill once. It also reminded me of being blinded by the light; it was almost too much to take in and they couldn't make sense of it, and didn't really want to at first. However, after being enlightened, it was too difficult for them to go back into the dark, knowing what was really out there.|
|Mary Mason||I believe Eternal Sunshine is similar to Plato's Allegory of the Cave after Joel and Clementine have had the memory of the other erased. When they are unaware of the others existence, it is like they are trapped in the cave. Even though he has an urge to go to Montauk he doesn't realize why, or even that the woman at the station is Clementine. Like the prisoners in the Cave realize they are seeing figures, but they are unaware the figures are shapes of animals that exist outside the cave. When Mary sends them their tapes and they discover they were in love once before it is that realization of larger truth. He doesn't know how to react this women he "just met" knowing all of his deepest secrets, just like when the prisoner steps out of the cave & sees that there are not only shadows in the world. Regardless of the things on the tape, Joel wants take Clementine back, and regardless if the greater knowledgethe prisoner who left the cave has they still have an urge to return to the cave.|
|Heather Paterson||Eternal sunshine is like the Allagory of the cave in that. Joel and clemintine enjoy their relationship even though they have problems, they stil love each other. They enjoy the shadows of reality that they see before them.. The Doctor of Lacuna is like the puppet master. Who minipulates their perceptions by erasing their memory. And controling what they view as real. Krystin Dunces character If the only one who goes outside the cave. She has feelings from her past, which she has no memory. Then finds out that her memory had been erased as well.Then when she send out the files to every other pacient she is tyring to spread the word and attempt to enlighten and. make others come out of their cave as well. Joel and clemintine never make it that far they somewhat comprehend what happened to them , bud disregard it and go back to their life before. They overlook the men in the puppet show and ignore the reasons they erased their minds to begin with, and start over their doomed realationship.|
| Group Report on Eternal Sunshine|
One great thing about Eternal Sunshine of the spotless mind is that it can be left open to several interpretations. One that really seemed to stand out was that Joel and Clementine were enlightened about their true love to one another through the act of erasing their memories of each other. After they had met again, they realized what they had once had between them was worth anything, because they were shown the "darkness" of their lives without each other. This new sense of enlightenment persuaded them to try again on there previously failed relationship. Thanks to the mind erasing, it opened their eyes and they knew they didn't want to live without each other again. To further explain the elements of the cave in the movie Joel and Clementine were the prisoners. The doctors who erased peoples minds were the puppeteers, and Kirsten Dunst could be considered the enlightened queen.
Another way this could be looked at............
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