Orson Welles Narrates an Animation of Plato’s Cave Allegory

In 1973, Orson Welles nar­rat­ed this ani­mat­ed short, which fea­tures some­what sur­re­al art­work by Dick Oden. You can see more of Oden’s work here.

The Alle­go­ry of the Cave illus­trates Pla­to’s view of knowl­edge as pre­sent­ed in Book VII of The Repub­lic: in ordi­nary expe­ri­ence, we see only shad­ows of the true world, which we can only behold by pur­su­ing rig­or­ous philo­soph­i­cal analy­sis.

This is not the only time “The Cave” has been set to film in some form. Open Cul­ture read­ers may recall this bril­liant ver­sion done with clay­ma­tion. Glut­tons for pun­ish­ment may wish to peruse this col­lec­tion of 20 YouTube ver­sions at PartiallyExaminedLife.com, many of them fright­ful­ly ama­teur­ish and some of them pre­sent­ing a warped and/or incom­pre­hen­si­ble ver­sion of the sto­ry.

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Free­dom Riv­er: A Para­ble Told by Orson Welles

Orson Welles Reads Moby Dick

Free Phi­los­o­phy Cours­es

Mark Lin­sen­may­er runs the Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life phi­los­o­phy pod­cast and blog, which recent­ly released an episode dis­cussing Pla­to’s Repub­lic.

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.