Date Approved

2008

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English Language and Literature

Committee Member

Ian Wojcik-Andrews, PhD, chair

Committee Member

Sheila Most, PhD

Abstract

J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series has become a cultural phenomenon. An analysis of the Harry Potter series reveals that underneath the phenomenon status there is great depth. This paper looks at aspects of the novels that mirror elements found in Plato’s The Republic, specifically his allegory of the cave in Book Seven. Plato’s allegory of the cave can be broken down into “four stages,” and in the Harry Potter novels there are characters who fall in each of these four stages. Through the characters in the four stages we see that the “highest form of knowledge” (Plato 246) to be obtained is that of understanding not only one’s own world, or community, but also being able to understand that of the other.

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