Re: Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 12
The 'imperfect shadows' were the preferred expression in the Republic, as can be seen from the Allegory of the Cave. However, in the later dialogues, notably the Parmenides and Sophist, Plato subjected the theory of Forms to some criticism and wrestled with the problem of the relationship of the Forms to the changing objects that they were to be Forms of and whether every type of object had its Form.
The 'imperfection' of 'imperfect shadows' does not really explain the relationship. A shadow is a replica of the object of which it is a shadow only in outline and is also pretty firmly connected to the object. Objects do not have the same connection with Forms, since the latter are in a world apart. So the metaphor only goes some way in attempting to explain the relationship. There is a vast secondary literature on the topic of participation (and self-predication) in the middle and later dialogues.