Paper 1 Part 3 – CAE
Let me show in a parable to what extent our nature is enlightened or unenlightened. Envision human figures living in an underground cave with a long entrance across the whole width of the cave. Here they have been from their childhood and have their legs and necks chained so that they cannot move and can only see before them, being prevented by the chains from turning their heads around. Above and behind them a fire is blazing at a distance. They see only their own shadows, which the fire throws on the opposite wall of the cave. For how could they see anything but the shadows if they were never allowed to move their heads? Between the fire and the prisoners, there is a raised way and a low wall built along the way like the screen which puppet players have in front of them over which they show the puppets. You see men passing along the wall carrying all sorts of articles, which they hold projected above the wall: statutes of men and animals made of wood and stone and various materials. Of the objects which are being carried in like manner they would only see the shadows. And if they were able to converse with one another, would they not suppose that they were naming what was actually before them? And suppose further that there was an echo which came from the wall. Would they not be sure to think when one of the passers-by spoke, that the voice came from the passing shadows? To them, the truth would be literally nothing but the shadows of the images.
And now look again and see what will naturally follow if one of the prisoners is released. At first when he is liberated and compelled suddenly to stand up and turn his head round and look towards the light. All this would hurt him and he would be much too dazzled to see distinctly those things whose shadows he had seen before. And then conceive someone saying to him that what he saw before was an illusion. But that now when he is approaching nearer to reality, his eyes turn toward more real existence, he has a clearer vision. What will be his reply? And you may further imagine that his instructor is pointing to the objects as they pass and requiring him to name them. Will he not be perplexed? Will he not think that the shadows which he formerly saw are truer than the objects which are now shown to him?
And suppose once more that he is reluctantly dragged up a steep and rugged ascent and held fast until he is forced into the presence of the Sun itself. When he approaches the light his eyes would be dazzled. He would not be able to see anything at all of what are now called ‘realities’. He would require to grow accustomed to the sight of the upper world. At first he would see the shadows best, next the reflections of objects in the water and then the objects themselves. Then he will gaze upon the stars and the spangled heavens and the light of the Moon. He will see the sky and the stars by night. Last of all, he will be able to see the Sun and not mere reflections of it in the water but he will see the Sun in its own proper place and not in another. And he will contemplate the Sun as it is. Will he then not proceed to argue that it is the Sun who gives the season and the years and is the guardian of all that is in the visible world and in a certain way the cause of all things which his fellows had been accustomed to behold? Truly he would first see the Sun and then reason about it. And when he remembered his old habitation and what was the wisdom of the cave and his fellow prisoners. Do you not suppose that he would bless himself for the change, pity them?
And if they were in the habit of conferring honours among themselves on those who were quickest at observing the passing shadows and to remark which of them went before and which of them after and which were together and who were therefore best able to draw conclusions as to the future. Do you think he would care for such honours and glories or envy the possessors of them?
Imagine once more, such a one coming out of the Sun to be replaced in his old situation. Would he not be certain to have his eyes full of darkness? And if there were a contest of measuring the shadows and he had to compete with the prisoners who had never moved out of the den while his sight was still weak and before his eyes had become steady, wouldn’t they all laugh at him and say he had spoiled his eyesight by going up there and that it was better not to even think of ascending? And if anyone tried to release another and lead him up to the light, would they not put him to death?
1/ The writer asks us to envision humans chained in a cave because
- a) he wants to show why people are stupid.
- b) he wants to tell a story about being human.
- c) he wants to teach us something about reality.
- d) he wants people to break their chains.
2/ What does ‘naming’ refer to in line 12?
- a) Guessing the puppet masters’ names from the echoes off the cave wall.
- b) If they could talk, giving each other names.
- c) Identifying the truth.
- d) Identifying the shadows on the wall.
3/ Why does the prisoner turn to look at the fire?
- a) He wants to see the things creating the shadows.
- b) He is forced to look.
- c) He is released.
- d) He wants to be dazzled by the pain.
4/ What does the writer suggest the prisoner will think when he looks at the sun?
- a) That he is looking at the reason for everything he has seen.
- b) That he is looking at a reflection in the water.
- c) That he wants to see it in its proper place and not in another.
- d) He wouldn’t look directly at the sun because his mum told him not to.
5/ Why might some receive honours?
- a) For naming the shadows first.
- b) For naming the shadows in turn.
- c) For being able to know the future best.
- d) All of the above.
6/ The prisoner returning from the light would be … by the others.
- a) … laughed at and released back to the light …
- b) … put to death for ascending the cave.
- c) … made fun of and warned against climbing out of the cave…
- d) … caught and blinded …
7/ The writer’s purpose in writing is to get us to think about …?
- a) Politics
- b) Culture
- c) Philosophy
- d) He doesn’t say.