Plato then goes on to detail what would happen if the prisoner had to look at the firelight itself. According to Plato, the prisoner’s eyes would ache and he would try to escape to the things he could see distinctly. The prisoner would then be convinced that they were clearer then those other objects being shown to him. Plato also addresses what would happen if the prisoner were to be dragged away forcibly up the steep and rugged ascent and would not be let go until he faced the sunlight. The prisoner would be so affected by his treatment that he would suffer pain and confusion. The prisoner would then be blinded by the light of the sun and would not be able to see any of the objects he was told were now existent and real.
The prisoner would need to grow accustomed before he could see things in the “upper world.” He would have to start small, viewing things such as shadows and reflections before he viewed more complex images such as that of sky, the light of the moon, and the stars. The prisoner would then move on to view the Sun and contemplate its existence. From examining it, the prisoner would then conclude that the Sun produces the seasons and the course of the year and controls everything in the visible world, and moreover it is the cause of all that he and his companions use to see. The prisoner would then consider his former fellow prisoners and he would surely think himself happy in the change and would feel sorry for them. The prisoners may have had a practice where they honored and commended one another, with a prize for the man who had the keenest eye for the passing of shadows and the best memory for the order in which they followed or accompanied one another, so that he could make a good guess as to which was going to come next. Plato questions whether the released prisoner would be likely to covet those prizes or to envy the men exalted to honor or power in the cave. Plato questions if the prisoner would be like Homer’s Achilles, and he would far sooner endure “being on earth as a hired servant in the house of a landless man” or endure anything rather then go back to his old beliefs and live in the old way.