"And now what if this prison also had an echo reverberating off the wall in front of them (the one that they always and only look at)? Whenever one of the people walking behind those in chains (and carrying the things) would make a sound, do you think the prisoners would imagine that the speaker were anyone other than the shadow passing in front of them?" "Nothing else, by Zeus!" he said) "All in all," I responded, "those who were chained would consider nothing besides the shadows of the artifacts to be the unhidden." "That would absolutely have to be," he said.

"So now," I replied, "watch the process whereby the prisoners are set free from their chains and, along with that, cured of their lack of insight,4 and likewise consider what kind of lack of insight this must be if the following were to happen to those who are chained. Whenever any of them was unchained and was forced to stand up suddenly, to turn around,5 to walk, and to look up toward the light, in each case the person would be able to do this only with pain, and because of the flickering brightness he would be unable to look at those things whose shadows he saw before. (If all this were to happen to the prisoner), what do you think he would say if someone were to inform him that what he saw before were (mere) trifles but that now he is much nearer to beings; and that, as a consequence of now being turned toward what is more in being, he also sees more correctly? And if someone were (then) to show him any of the things that are passing by and were to force him to answer the question about what it is, do you [115 {GA 9: 209}] not think that he would be at wits' end and also would consider that what he saw before (with his own eyes) is more unbidden than what is now being shown (to him by someone else)?" "Yes, absolutely," he said.

"And if someone even forced him to look into the glare of the fire, would his eyes not hurt him, and would he not then turn away and flee (back) to that which he is capable of looking at? And would he not decide that (what he could see before without any help) is in fact clearer than what is now being shown to him?" "Precisely," he said.

"Now, however, if someone, using force, were to drag him (who had been freed from his chains) away from there and to pull him up the cave's rough and steep ascent and not let go of him until he had dragged him out into the light of the sun, would not the one who had been dragged like this feel, in the process, pain and rage? And when he got into the sunlight, would not his eyes be filled with the glare, and would he not thus be unable to see any of the things that are now revealed to him as the unhidden?"