The dissemination of truth comes with fierce repudiation. The ancient works of the Bible and Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” express this everlasting theme. Jesus and the Platonic Prisoner walk together, hand in hand, to spread their great truths in their responding body politic to mature. However, they could just as easily remain stagnant in their position of superiority and would logically be better off keeping to themselves. But they did not. These two great teachers feel a strong and dutiful obligation to guide their students.
Inevitably, their respective bodies politic respond to their teachings with isolation, alienation, and ultimately execution. Their relationships with their respective body politics are very similar in that they interact as teachers due to their surging sense of obligation to their people and as a result struggle with isolation, alienation, and finally execution for their ideals. Despite the harsh responses these two superior beings receive, they both stick with their relationship through thick and thin because there is something that relationships entail that is unattainable by isolating themselves.
Great teachers around the world all feel an unprecedented obligation not only to share their superior knowledge, but also to show genuine care and concern for their society. Jesus and the Platonic Prisoner are no exceptions, as shown by the way they interact with their body politic. For example, when the Jews and Gentiles gather around Jesus, he tells his disciples that, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way” (Matt. 15:32).
This quote clearly reveals Jesus’s sense of surging obligation for his body politic through his expression of compassion, sympathy, and concern for their hunger. This unprecedented level of obligation also explains why Jesus feels responsible to teach his body politic about deep spiritual truths. Similarly, the Platonic Prisoner “is to give to all the others whatever he is able to produce for the society. For it made these men so, not to please themselves, but to unite the commonwealth” (Plato 128). Evidently, the Platonic Prisoner feels a similar obligation to lead and teach the commonwealth in a selfless manner.
He prioritizes the status of the society over the status of himself. Thus, the Platonic Prisoner returns to the cave to educate the commonwealth about the truth. Although Jesus and the Platonic Prisoner feel a surging sense of obligation to teach their body politic beneficial truths and ideals, they struggle with isolation, alienation, and inevitable execution by their body politic. Their introduction of spiritual truths and ideals conflicts with the body politic’s perception of reality. As a result, both of the body politics conflict with their respective protagonists as the protagonists remain persistent by teaching in vain.
For instance, when Jesus is taken to be crucified by the Jewish soldiers “they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt it in front of him and mocked him” (Matt. 27:28-29). This reveals that the consequences of Jesus’s obligation to teach the Jews and Gentiles beneficial truths and ideals are isolation, alienation, and execution. The Jews and Gentiles isolate and alienate Jesus onto the cross in order to execute him for teaching them truths and ideals that they cannot stomach.
Identically, when the Platonic Prisoner returns to the prison, he struggles with isolation, alienation, and execution. “Wouldn’t he be laughed at? [… ] wouldn’t they put him to death? ” (Plato 125). This quote demonstrates that like Jesus, the Platonic Prisoner struggles with isolation, alienation, and execution. The commonwealth laugh at the Platonic Prisoner to isolate and alienate him so that his ideals cannot reach them. When the Platonic Prisoner attempts to teach the commonwealth truth after this, he faces execution by their own hands.
Considering the harsh struggles and consequences that Jesus and the Platonic Prisoner meet when they try to benefit their body politic through their knowledge, wouldn’t they logically be better off on their own? “Teaches of themselves, they have no cause to feel in debt to the state for an education they were never given” (Plato 128). Despite this, superior beings such as Jesus and the Platonic Prisoner feel an innate yearning for the development of relationships because there is something that they gain through the relationship that is unattainable by isolating themselves.
For instance, Jesus describes himself when he says, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me [… ] I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd” (John 10:14). By defining himself as a shepherd, Jesus reveals that through his relationship he gains recognition and leadership. These two things are unattainable if he isolates himself from the Jews and Gentiles to be his own island.
Similarly, the Platonic Prisoner keeps his relationship with the commonwealth after his enlightenment because he “will see far better than they do what these images are, and what they are of [… ] So our state will be ruled by minds which are awake” (Plato 128). This reveals that the Platonic Prisoner also gains a sense of leadership by binding himself to his relationship with the commonwealth. By gaining the power of leadership Jesus and the Platonic Prisoner also receive the satisfaction of justice.
When Jesus describes himself as a good shepherd, he also describes the religious leaders before him as “thieves and robbers” (John 10:8). Therefore, Jesus feels the satisfaction of justice by being a good shepherd for the Jews and Gentiles because there are thieves and robbers running amok to spread evil. Likewise, the Platonic Prisoner becomes the leader over the “men in a dream fighting with one another over shadows and for the power and office” (Plato 128). Thus, the Platonic Prisoner feels the satisfaction of justice by taking leadership over those that are not enlightened.
In conclusion, Jesus and the Platonic Prisoner share relationships with their respective body politics that are similar in the way they interact as teachers due to their surging sense of obligation. They are also similar in that through their teaching obligation for their people, comes an interactive struggle and conflict that forces the protagonists to deal with isolation, alienation, and execution. By looking at the outcomes of their efforts, it is easy to logically assume that they should break off their relationships to exist at their own entity and island to benefit more.
However, the nature of relationships show that there is something that they gain through the relationship that is unattainable by isolating themselves. If Jesus and the Platonic Prisoner only rule themselves, how can they possible gain recognition, leadership, and ultimately justice when they are their own perfect singular island? What good is a shepherd without his sheep? What good is knowledge when you do not share it with others? No matter how tempting it may be to become completely apathetic and apart from any sort of relationship, the necessity of company will always stand near and dear to the hearts of all.