The allegory of the Cave in Republic 514a–18d is one of the most memorable Platonic images. The depiction of chained humans in a cavernous dwelling looking at shadows of objects cast on a parapet in front of them but unable to locate the objects themselves until one of them is freed, turns around to see the objects, and finally leaves the cave has haunted and inspired readers throughout the centuries. The prisoners are said to be ‘like us’ (515a), which is taken to refer either to human life in general or to human life in corrupt political environments. Plato's core metaphysical and epistemological doctrines are thought to inhere in the Cave, his belief that the sensible world, represented by the cave, holds people captive to defective and erroneous appearances, and that only philosophy can free and enlighten them, leading them out of the cave to the intelligible realm of the eternal Forms. The cave then houses captives since childhood who believe that shadows of artifacts exhaust reality, and captors who project images of artifacts on the wall and thereby manipulate what the captives see and hear.