The Allegory of the Cave is a hypothetical scenario, described by Plato, in the form of an enlightening conversation between Socrates and his brother, Glaucon. The conversation basically deals with the ignorance of humanity trapped in the conventional ethics formed by society. It covers both the fallen and risen state of mankind, from the phase where the man is in search of truth and once he is made aware, all he wants to do is share it with others and free them from the bondage of ignorance.
Socrates further says, what if a prisoner is released, by someone and is forced to suddenly stand, move his neck and made to look towards the fire and the objects whose shadows he had seen before. Wouldn't all this hurt and confuse him, if someone were to tell him that the shadows he saw earlier were all an illusion. But what he sees now is the reality and then somebody drags this prisoner to see the outside world and hold him in the presence of the Sun. He, like all the prisoners being accustomed to dim light, turns his gaze away from the bright sun. His vision being temporarily overcome by the intense light, the outside world was beyond his comprehension.
Slowly he gets used to the existence of the new world, which delineates the fallacy of that inside the cave. Now, on an intellectual journey, he discovers the real shadows of the outside world, the reflection of objects in the water, the beauty of mother nature, skies, stars, moon, an almost divine experience of the newly found mystical world. Next, he begins to study the Sun and its surroundings. Leading him to reason the Sun as the cause of all things, from the seasons to the years. All of this his fellow prisoners are unaware about.
He considers himself lucky and blessed, for the change he undergoes and pities the prisoners living in the same old habitat. In his old situation, he remembers how they would compete to recognize each passing shadow, that of which is nothing compared to what he is able to grasp and see now.
Now, what if this prisoner were to return to the cave, and find the other prisoners busy competing and asking him to join in, wouldn't the shadows appear blur to him because his sight is still weak by the sudden exposure and before he could adjust to the darkness, the prisoners start to ridicule him for having lost his eyesight. They would remark that it would have been better, if he had stayed in the cave. And if someone, were to repeat this or release another prisoner, that culprit should be caught and put to death.
He tries to persuade his companions, that outside there is a more real world, and what they saw were mere shadows of the real objects. He tries to point out the deep-rooted ignorance of the fellow prisoners, who are trapped within their own confinement of pseudo intellectualism. But the prisoners try to resist enlightenment and condemn him for moral misconduct and loss of ethical values.