In this article I argue that Plato's allegory of the cave dramatizes democracy's dependency on slavery. Plato's cave forces the theatre, the political space of ancient Greek representation, to confront its material dependency upon a space from which it is otherwise visually and territorially separated: the mines where intensive use was made of slave labor. As many have argued, the most salient aspects of Plato's allegory of the cave are the complete absence of lexis (speech) and praxis (action), the evacuation of the acoustic and the distortion of the visual. These are also the most decisive features when delimiting the border between the free and the unfree in Greek antiquity:
Do you think these prisoners have ever seen anything of themselves and one another besides the shadows that the fire casts on the wall of the cave in front of them? … And if they could engage in discussion with one another, don't you think they would assume that the words they used applied to the things they see passing in front of them?