Wednesday 2 November 2011

Lesson Plan based on The Matrix


The movie The Matrix is certainly a science-fiction/action thriller. However, it can also be deeply profound, carrying meaningful threads of thought and truth on intense philosophical and spiritual levels.

‘The Matrix’ Activities  

1.  Give some background information on “The Matrix”; when it was released; its popularity; who stars in it etc. Analysis of the Film Poster.
2.  Explain the film belongs to the science fiction genre. Introduction of conventions of a science fiction film.

Make pauses to ask the following questions:

3.  Now look at the opening in more detail. Which conventions clearly belong to the Science fiction genre? Ask students: How is the viewer made aware that this film belongs to the science fiction genre?
4.  Ask students: What are the “narrative hooks” which encourage the viewer to continue watching the film? What do they want to know the answers to?
5.  Make a few pauses during the film to ask questions to check understanding.

Make sure they understand at first the plot and then the issues, using the study guide as a starting point. It is during discussion that students really start to see connections and understand the levels of complexity that the movie has.

The study guide is meant to get students thinking about aspects of the movie that they might usually miss; the movie is fun just to watch, but is so full of references and symbolism that students usually need to deliberately look for it in order to see it.

6.  Give students the Study Guide.
7. Get students to work in pairs or teams to work out the meaning of some quotes from the film and ask them to write an essay for homework.

(1)  Analysis of the Film Poster

The Film Poster

The poster is the most important means of letting people know about the release of a film. We normally only see a poster for a short space of time, so it must immediately catch our attention and make us want to see the film.  This is why most things on a poster appear large and why bright colours are used.

The poster uses both images (pictures) and text (words) to give us this information. The most important image is called the key image, because it is the key to what the film is about, but there will be background images too.

The catchline (like a slogan on an advert) helps us remember the film and the credit block (the smaller writing at the bottom of the “page”) tells us who produced and distributed the film.

Find the following information on the poster:

(1)   the title
(2)  what the story is about
(3)  who is starring in it
(4)  who is directing it
(5)  what type of film it is
(6)  what is unique about it.
(7)  what the key image is
(8) what the catchline is

Every part of the poster is carefully out together to encourage us to want to see the film.

(2)  Introduction of conventions of a science fiction film

The definition for science fiction is: “stories about imaginary scientific discoveries or space travel and life on other planets.”

Characteristics of science fiction films:
  • A time setting in the future, in alternative timelines, or in a historical past that contradicts known facts of history or the archaeological record.
  • A spatial setting or scenes in outer space (e.g., spaceflight), on other worlds, or on subterranean earth
  • Characters that include aliens, mutants, androids, or humanoid robots.
  • Technology that is futuristic (e.g., ray guns, teleportation machines, humanoid computers.
  • Scientific principles that are new or that contradict known laws of nature, for example time travel, wormholes, or faster-than-light travel.
  • New and different political or social systems (e.g. dystopia, post-scarcity, or a post-apocalyptic situation where organized society has collapsed)
  • Paranormal abilities such as mind control, telepathy, telekinesis, and teleportation.

(3)  How is the viewer aware this film belongs to the science fiction genre?

  • You should consider the following:
  • How is the plot typical of a science fiction film
  •  Are the characters typical? Costume? Props? Body language? Actions? (Look at least one character in detail.)
  • Which camera angles are used and why? What is the effect?
  • How does the director use colour and lighting to create meaning? Is this typical of science fiction?
  • What sorts of sounds occur in the opening and why?
  • How does the mise en scene contribute to the atmosphere.

(4)  What are the “narrative hooks” which encourage the viewer to continue watching the film? What do we want to know the answers to?

Sample answer to points (3) and (4)

“The Matrix” is a very popular sci-fi. It was released in 1999 and became a big box office film. “The Matrix” is a futuristic, technological film, a perfect example of a sci-fi.

The opening sequence of a film is the most important section. The reason for this is, the beginning of a film needs to grab the readers’ attention and make you feel interested to watch it. In this case, “The Matrix” is a perfect example of an eye opening film.

“The Matrix” is set in a big, busy city with characters with superpowers and unnatural people; Trinity for example. I think having characters like Trinity makes the female reader look up to her as a hero. She is physically aggressive and fights the male gender and is very agile. Trinity’s powers suggests the genre is sci-fi because it’s unrealistic, you don’t see women in figure hugging black outfits jumping over buildings in today’s world!

In the opening sequence you are introduced to many different characters behaving in a mysterious manner, leaving it open for the viewer to surmise whether the characters are goodies or baddies. It keeps you entertained and allures the mind, keeping one in suspense.

“The Matrix” is very confusing at the start, as the plot is difficult to follow. Curiosity takes over and makes the viewer want to watch it to the end. The reason why the producers make it so confusing is so that the viewer asks themselves questions and want to solve the missing pieces to the puzzle; what is the matrix? Why are the police after Trinity? How did Trinity escape from the phone box? No one can answer these until the latter part of the film.

In the very first scene of “The Matrix” lots of green digits appear running up a computer screen but it is not highlighted what these are until they group into space to form the title “the Matrix”.

The use of lighting is good here, with the illuminated green lettering it shows importance to the text. Also the digits comes up on a computer; a computer is technology, and technology is present and dominates this world. This gives you the very first impression of a sci-fi film.

Following this, a man and a woman’s voice is heard in a phone call, the call is suspicious; I can tell this because the man and woman use phrases like, ”Is this line clean?” The way the phone call appears to the reader makes the viewer puzzled and confused, a hushed sense of urgency builds up suspense and intrigue. You ask yourself are they the baddies because they must have been talking about something secret for somebody to want to listen.

Next you see a lot of policemen guarding a dark room. Torches and deep lights gives the effect of darkness. Moreover, Trinity’s facial expression indicates fear. The woman, Trinity, dressed in black PVC clothing is being chased, and it builds up to a hugely, active scene of Trinity suspended in air and jumping buildings. All these effects signify shade and sci-fi.

To finish the opening sequence a new character is introduced. We don’t know who he is, or whether he is good or bad, yet he receives messages on his computer saying “Wake up Neo,” the screen also says, “The Matrix has you…”The viewer sees the man (Neo) panics and look around. Then the screen says, “follow the white rabbit…” These messages give us the sensation of danger, “the Matrix has you,” what is going to happen to Neo, and what is the white rabbit?

Finally, somebody knocks on Neo’s door, Neo hands a disc or something to the man at the door. He glances back at his computer saying “follow the white rabbit.” Whilst focussing on the man’s girlfriend, he catches sight of the white rabbit tattooed to her arm. Neo is scared and bewildered.
This is the last clip of the opening sequence, the camera flashes between the close up of the white rabbit (to emphasise importance of this information) to Neo’ face - showing he is processing information.

The initial start is very entertaining, it captures the imagination and gives the viewer a good understanding of the film genre. It does this by using technology; (computers, cars, graphics), and the setting (dark, busy city), also the unrealistic characters. The first and last scenes are the most effective. I think this because the viewer thinks what are the male and female talking about on the phone and in the last scene what is the white rabbit all about? These happenings keep your mind guessing and predicting what might happen next. This in many ways is what an opening sequence of a film should be like, to catch the viewers’ interest and give a sense of mystery.

(5)  Questions arising while watching the film to check understanding:

  1. Who is speaking at the beginning? Why do they mention “killing” and “clean lines”? Who is listening to whom?
  2. Describe the opening moments of the film: what happens? What are the main events and who are the characters involved?
  3. What happened to the world?
  4. What is the “Matrix”?
  5. Who are the “goodies” and “baddies”?
  6. What role will Neo play in the film? Why is he important?
  7. What role does Morpheus play in the film?
  8. What changes in Neo at the end of the film?

(6)  Study Guide

  1. What are the main themes of The Matrix? Just name them.
  2. Draw a parallelism between Matrix and our world. Do we live in a matrix? Discuss ways our society enslaves us.
-    What forces are controlling our lives: advertising, fashion, politics, formal education, class, etc.?
-    Can someone be enslaved without knowing it?

  1. Discuss symbolism in The Matrix:
-    The Spoon (There is no spoon)
-    Symbolism of the characters and their names (Neo - Thomas Anderson; Morpheus; Trinity; the Oracle; Cypher)
-    The red pill and the blue pill
-    Doors

  1. How do we know that what we perceive is real? Do we ever distrust our mentality?
  2. How can Neo free himself from the Matrix? How is the idea of FREEDOM explored in the film?
  3. Do we care about certain things independent of the experiences they create for us? For example, is being in reality important even if the experience isn’t pleasant? Is it better to live happily in the Matrix than miserably in reality? Why or why not?
  4. Draw a parallelism between choosing to live in Matrix - the current world we live in - or to know reality, to know about wars, the world of the starving, of the impoverished, of children enslaved in sweatshops, mines, prostitution…
  5. If you were faced with the choice of reality vs. the matrix, which would you choose and why? Would you fight for freedom, like Neo and the rest of Morpheus's crew, or would you decide "ignorance is bliss," like Cypher does, and get reinserted into the matrix?
  6. What can you do to set yourself free from “the Matrix”?
  7. Can you also be like Neo and help others become free and stop being “batteries” that keep this system running? If so, how? What steps should you take? (Think of the film sequences and the different stages Neo underwent)  

Sample answer to points (6)

Fate and Free Will
Illusion, Reality and the Truth
Slavery: manipulation of our minds, the fodder of the system…

The Matrix - There Is No Spoon
Life is not what it seems!
What we consider to be the real world is in just a Matrix!
One interpretation can be that our eternal self does not belong to this world. From a Christian point of view, we are merely visitors in a temporary illusion known as life. "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:18) When we, through death, unplug from this world, all that we knew as "real" will be gone. Our possessions, our career, everything. Our eyes will be opened for the first time. "Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face." (1 Corinthians 13:12) Imagine the moment we "awake" and are able to look back on our previous experiences through a clear lens. Our relationships, our jobs, our fame and fortune, joys and pains, happiness and grief, will all fade into insignificance. Our real purpose in this life is to get to know the God behind the matrix.


Reality & Truth

Reality is in some sense dictated by our beliefs and our environment. Before moving on, I need to differentiate between Truth and Reality. There can be many realities, but there is One Truth. For example, to those who are plugged into the Matrix and not yet aware of it, the Matrix is reality. However, the Truth is that they are serving as a 120V battery in a pod full of green slime. If I am anorexic, then I see myself as overweight; that becomes my reality. The Truth is that I am gradually starving myself to death. The problem, then, is when my reality is not in accordance with the Truth. Either I am unaware of the Truth, or I am ignoring the Truth by conscious effort. To those who cannot see the Truth, whose eyes have never been opened (still in the pod), there is no choice. That is to say, the only choice available is one reality over another, one Matrix or another if you will. Yet there can be an awareness, a searching for the Truth. God has planted within each human the desire for purpose, for meaning; a thirst for the Truth. As Trinity whispered to Neo, "It's the question that drives us."

The Matrix and the capitalist system
The Matrix is a system of control which is ideological in nature, an ideology being a system of ideas which forms the basis of our mentality, of a political or economic situation. In the economy of the future, run by the machines, electricity is the prime commodity. Ideology keeps its subjects in their assigned place for economic reasons: in order to exploit their productive capacities. The justification for ideology is, as Morpheus explains to Neo, “To turn a human being,” holding up a duracell battery, “into this.” The Matrix is a tactic used in order to extract electricity, as surplus value, from an individual, from any individual unlucky enough to be inserted into it. Ideology is, in short, a tool to enable the exploitation of a mass of individuals so that others may gain an economic advantage.

It is no accident that this particular society has been decided upon in order to keep the Matrix’s occupants quiet, since the aims of each are so similar.

Our society: the society of late capitalism, remarkably international in nature, which is bound by neither linguistic nor cultural differences, so long as all its subjects remain bound to its ideology, which is the ideology of capitalism. We accept it and “would fight to protect it”, to defend our standard of living, our minds have been manipulated by the system and we act in accordance with our mentality. Even when we think we are opposing this system, we do so by using the mentality shaped by this system. 

Once we’re inserted into the slot of this system, it is just as if we were batteries in an electrical appliance. We are only there in order to be exploited for our productive capabilities. In the real world, we are the producers of wealth, but not its beneficiaries. In the world of the Matrix, we are the producers of electricity, but not its beneficiaries, which brings us to the problem of resistance.

Is there any philosophy in the Matrix?
It is not what you call difficult to find an analogy between the Matrix script and the famous allegory of the Cave of the Greek philosopher Plato.

Indeed, in the allegory, Plato describes prisoners chained in a cave, unable to turn their heads. All they can see is the wall of the cave. Behind them burns a fire, while puppeteers, behind the prisoners, hold up puppets that cast shadows on the wall of the cave.  The prisoners are only able to see and hear the shadows and echoes cast by objects that they cannot see.

In Matrix, we are in the same case, mankind is only aware of its existence through machines. As Neo says while he goes to see the Oracle: “I have these memories from my life and none of them happened”. However, the machines, like the puppeteers, also share that false reality. Agent Smith, during Morpheus’s interrogation, says about human civilization: ‘... when we started thinking for you, it became our civilization.”

Then, Plato continues his account of the liberation of one of the prisoners and his discovery of both worlds: the real world and that created by the puppeteers. Thus, to realize that he has “been living in a dream world”, Neo has to “free his mind”. Plato also imposes a mission on the “One” who discovers the dual worlds; he has to free the other prisoners. That is Neo's mission, he will save humanity by showing everybody the truth. In the last sequence, when Neo phones the machines, he says: “And then I will show these people what you don’t want them to see, I’m going to show them a world without you, a world without rules or controls, without borders or boundaries.”

In that way, Matrix appears to be a philosophical metaphor of self-consciousness setting itself free. Therefore, remember: “there is no spoon!”

Symbolism in The Matrix

The Characters
Neo: Neo in Latin means new. Anagram of "one." means "new;" becomes a "new" person after being unplugged/reprogrammed; he is "born again" via the symbolism of his birth-like expulsion from the pod.

Thomas Anderson: "Doubting Thomas." The term is based on the Biblical account of Thomas the Apostle, a disciple of Jesus who doubted Jesus' resurrection and demanded to feel Jesus' wounds before being convinced. A Doubting Thomas is someone who will refuse to believe something without direct, physical, personal evidence; a skeptic.

Neo can also represents Jesus or Hope or Freedom. The hope that lies in every man, the hope that changing the world is possible, that Matrix has not defeated us, that there are people who are ready to fight for Freedom and against injustice.

Anderson: The Greek root "andr" (from "andros") = "man," therefore "Anderson" may be read as "son of man," referring to either Jesus or the medieval "Everyman" figure. In literature and drama, the term everyman has come to mean an ordinary individual with whom the audience or reader is supposed to be able to identify easily, and who is often placed in extraordinary circumstances. The name derives from a 15th century English morality play called Everyman.

Morpheus:  He may stand for the Father, John the Baptist or the Holy Spirit that reveals the Truth to Neo, but can also be our deep conscience that tells us what is right, which help us see the Path to follow.

Morpheus is the Greek god of dreams who appeared as a man only in dreams. In comics, Morpheus is the name of the Sandman, Lord of the realm of dreams. [The fact that Morpheus's name belongs to a figure who appears only in dreams is an interesting point when discussing what exactly--if anything--happens to Neo] ), literary references (Simulacra and Simulation - Jean Baudrillard: The book where Neo keeps his hacked discs hidden. His thesis in S&S is that in our postmodern culture, images, copies--simulacra--do not simply imitate their originals, but replace them. Simulation becomes reality. The fact that Neo used a hollowed-out copy of S&S is perfectly symbolic of Baudrillard's theory. Morpheus: "Welcome to the desert of the real" - quoting Baudrillard; "the desert of the real" is a direct quote from Baudrillard. In an early draft of the script, Morpheus actually says: "You have been living inside Baudrillard's vision, inside the map, not the territory." That line was changed to "You've been living in a dream world, Neo."), and ideas such as doubting reality/what happens to Neo (Morpheus claims he is offering Neo the "truth:" "I didn't say it would be easy, Neo, I said it would be the truth." But in order to find out that truth, Neo must take a pill.

Up to that point, we know Neo and his "friends" inhabit a world where hallucinatory drugs are common. When we first see Neo, he is sleeping. Several times as all the "weird" stuff begins happening to him, he'll wake up in bed as an abrupt transition. By the end of the movie, the Nebucanezzer has been disabled/ destroyed by the sentinels, but Neo is back "in" the Matrix. Morpheus asks Neo if he's ever had incredibly life-like dreams, and if he would be able to tell the difference between "the dream world, and the real world." Morpheus's explanation to Neo: "What is real? How do you define real? If you are talking about what you can see, hear, taste, touch, or smell then real is simply electrical impulses interpreted by your brain." Remember that Morpheus was the Greek god of dreams. Interesting that the writers would choose this name to represent the man who shows Neo and the others the "truth.")

Jean Baudrillard (27 July 1929 – 6 March 2007) was a French sociologist, philosopher, cultural theorist, political commentator, and photographer. His work is frequently associated with postmodernism and post-structuralism.

As he developed his work throughout the 1980s, he moved from economically based theory to the consideration of mediation and mass communications. Baudrillard developed ideas about how the nature of social relations is determined by the forms of communication that a society employs. In so doing, Baudrillard considered a negation of the concept of reality as we usually understand it. Baudrillard argues that today there is no such thing as reality. Simulacra and Simulation is most known for its discussion of images, signs, and how they relate to contemporaneity. Baudrillard claims that our current society has replaced all reality and meaning with symbols and signs, and that human experience is of a simulation of reality. Moreover, these simulacra are not merely mediations of reality, nor even deceptive mediations of reality; they are not based in a reality nor do they hide a reality, they simply hide that anything like reality is irrelevant to our current understanding of our lives. The simulacra that Baudrillard refers to are the significations and symbolism of culture and media that construct perceived reality, the acquired understanding by which our lives and shared existence is rendered legible; Baudrillard believed that society has become so saturated with these simulacra and our lives so saturated with the constructs of society that all meaning was being rendered meaningless by being infinitely mutable. Baudrillard called this phenomenon the "precession of simulacra".

Trinity: In Christian theology, "trinity" refers to the trifold personality of one Divine Being, the union of the Father, the Son (Christ), and the Holy Spirit. In keeping with the Christian themes, the 'father', 'son', 'holy spirit' seems to be related here. In The Matrix, Morpheus, Trinity, and Neo fight the machines.

Trinity also represents the number three which is a powerful number in many stories and traditions. Pythoagoras referred to 3 as the perfect number. The number three is found on many pillars throughout the subway scene. The word "trinity" is used to represent the union of three people; the connection of the body, mind and spirit; birth, life and death; or past, present and future.

The Oracle can be another Christian reference: the Delphic Oracle, the Prophet, who foretold the coming of the Messiah. In Greek history the Oracle was an intermediary between god and man. People could ask an Oracle questions and get an answer, sometimes in a riddle format that often wouldn't make sense until later. In the Matrix she says, "You know what that means? It's Latin. Means know thyself." "Know thyself" is inscribed upon the Oracle of Apollo and attributed to the Delphic Oracle, Greece, 6th century B.C.

She  may also be our conscience, presenting us with choice.

Cypher is the classic betrayer, the Judas Iscariot. It's also potentially related to Satan (the name could be a shortened version of 'Lucifer').

Cypher chooses to leave the resistance and go back to the Matrix. He doesn’t want to live the truth anymore, because it is too ugly and painful. He decides that he prefers the pleasurable lies of the Matrix. What’s wrong with the Matrix, if what we feel is pleasurable? Is it better in some ways to live in the Matrix than to see things as they really are?

The word also refers to a mathematical symbol denoting an absence of quantity, a zero. Also, someone with no value, a non-entity. He can even represent most of us who led by temptation and selfishness prefer to ignore the Truth and choose not to commit ourselves to fight for a change, for a more humane world.

The blue pill and the red pill

A metaphor for the Holy Spirit

"Seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened..." Notice how Morpheus first contacted Neo (through Trinity, the Spirit) rather than the other way around. This was done via the computer screen when Neo is first introduced. "Wake up, Neo! The Matrix has you!"


It is interesting that this scene is followed by "Knock, knock...", then the door to Neo's apartment is opened. This moment is critical because the invitation is extended to Neo to join the group, and thus "follow the white rabbit." It is this decision that paves the way for Neo to eventually establish a relationship with Morpheus. When Christ knocks on the door to our hearts, he follows with an invitation to "follow him"! If we do, we will enter into a relationship with the Father.


The Holy Spirit acts as the red pill, this change in the system allows him to awaken and see perceive the Truth. Now he has the choice to accept and live by the Truth or not.

A first step to know the truth, to become free, to commit ourselves to action.

There is also another interpretation. When Morpheus asks Neo to choose between a red pill and a blue pill, he essentially offers the choice between fate and free will. In the Matrix, fate rules—since the world is pre-constructed and actions predetermined, all questions already have answers and any choice is simply the illusion of choice. In the real world, humans have the power to change their fate, take individual action, and make mistakes. Neo chooses the red pill—real life—and learns that free will isn’t pretty. The real world is a mess, dangerous and destitute. Pleasure exists almost entirely in the world of the Matrix, where it’s actually only a computer construct. Cypher, who regrets choosing the red pill and ultimately chooses to return to the Matrix, views any pleasure, even false pleasure, as better than no pleasure at all. The Matrix suggests that everyone has the individual responsibility to make the choice between the real world and an artificial world.

Essentially, we are trained to swallow the blue pill of conformity – getting money and spending what we can since we worked hard to get it in the first place.  After all, we deserve it; right?

We do not need to know the connection existing between our jeans and the children who do not go to school to make them, or the money we have in our banks and what banks use this money for, we do not have to really know why there is hunger, wars, exploitation, unemployment...  We are trained to ignore the causes of society’s evils, of society’s pains. So, we can spend to keep this capitalism machine running. We are the batteries that feed the system by spending, while the impoverished are the batteries that support this system with their resources and their badly-paid hard work by harvesting and producing for us.


Choosing the red pill is opening our eyes to the shortcomings of our community, our city, our state, our country, our planet. 


Doors: Fate, Destiny and Free Will

The Oracle knew that Neo was the One. She predicted his death as Thomas Anderson and resurrection as the One. Why did she seem to imply he was not the One? Consider the scene when Neo breaks the vase. The Oracle could not tell Neo he was the One, for the reason that Neo would then begin to think he was the One and act like he was the One. In doing this he would be distracted from ever KNOWING that he was the One. The truth of his nature had to be self-discovered from within. The significance of the vase was to provide a parallel for this critical point. Because the Oracle told him he would break the vase, he did! Self-fulfilling prophecy!! The Oracle needed him to BE the One rather than trying to BECOME the One.

Was Neo's future therefore determined? Was he not "in control of his own life?" Was he thus dispossessed of free will?

The role did belong to Neo, but he had to consciously accept that role all the same. The oracle could "see" the future in the sense that she could perceive the choices that Neo would make; that Neo would, at some point, accept his destiny. As Morpheus says, "I can only show you the door, you must go through it."

Notice the frequent symbolic use of doors in the film.
*Neo chooses to answer the door and follow the white rabbit.
*He enters through the car door to be taken to Morpheus, and later decides not to exit the car.
*He enters the door to the apartment when meeting Morpheus.
*He enters the door to see the Oracle.
The list goes on. Thus, fate becomes a path which leads us through a sequence of doors; at each door we must make a decision, and each door that is opened leads to another door. This series of doors will describe a unique path for each person, our destiny. The gift of the Oracle is the ability to see through all the open doors, and therefore know the future by knowing each decision that is made.

Each of us creates our own future, moment by moment, one decision after another. We have complete and unrestricted free will. As each decision is made, a path is created. At each moment of our lives we face an infinite number of choices, an infinite number of doors, any one of which we choose to open. As we progress through life, we leave a "trail" of these open doors representing our decisions. To someone who is able to perceive the entire trail from birth to death, my life becomes predictable, in fact predetermined if viewed from the beginning!  I therefore define my fate, my destiny, to be this path.



Freedom is explored in a number of ways in the film: mythologically, in terms of a language of symbols and images; theologically, by way of several discussions between characters establishing an explicit relationship with religious narratives; philosophically, through situations and dialogue associated with several of the great metaphors in the history of Western thought; from the possibility of revolution  or non-violent resistance; scientifically, by contrasting causally determinate accounts of experience with chance and chaos theory…

Is Freedom possible? Freedom involves making a choice but in order to opt for an alternative which can set us free, it is essential to know the Truth, “…and the Truth shall make you free.” Otherwise, having the “freedom” to choose can only perpetuate our enslavement.

How do we begin to free our minds? Freedom involves a certain amount of risks and dangers. Also, it is not so easy to "wake up" on our own without some party that is external to the system to offer us a convenient red pill, this awakening to the harsh reality or our conversion entails suffering.

In The Matrix, the condition from which humans need to be freed is not slavery to one’s personal moral evil; rather, it is ignorance of one’s real identity. Redemption lies in “waking up” from imposed unawareness of reality.

Followers of Christ believe that there are many forces that control us, both from outside and within ourselves, restricting our freedom. However, true freedom is not found by simply acting however you want to. That complete freedom that Neo seemed to enjoy at the end of the film is an illusion, because we have responsibilities to those who are also enslaved. True freedom is not found by giving in to instinct, but by living responsibly. This is not easy, but requires discernment, because right and wrong are not always easy to tell apart. The person living responsibly cannot afford to act instinctively, but must think through their actions in a world where the truth is not always clear.

To deny humans of their freedom is to deny their very existence. "In order to achieve your goals, you must have faith in yourself and dedicate yourself." Throughout the entire movie, Neo doubts himself, he doubts that he could climb over to the scaffold, doubts that he could jump the buildings, and that he is "The Chosen One." Yet, at the end, he starts to believe and therefore he can defeat Smith. We can interpret that he starts having Faith and sees the Truth, which gives him Freedom. Also, we can understand that he begins to develop the necessary self-confidence that makes him believe that he can – that we can – change the world if we commit ourselves.

(7)  Work out the meaning of some quotes from the film and write an essay

Work out the meaning of these quotes in pairs/teams. Choose one of them to write an essay of between … and … words.

  • "Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony.
  • "What is "real"? How do you define "real"?"
  • "I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it."
  • "Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream, Neo? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world? "
  • "What you know you can't explain, but you feel it. You've felt it your entire life, that there's something wrong with the world. You don't know what it is, but it's there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad."
  • “This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill - the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill - you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.”
  • “The Matrix is everywhere. It's all around us, even in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work, when you go to work, when you pay your taxes. The Matrix is the world that has been pulled over your eyes,  to blind you from the truth.  That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else, you were born into bondage, born into a prison that you cannot smell or taste or touch. A prison...for your mind”
  • "Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself."
  • Neo: “Why do my eyes hurt?” Morpheus : “You've never used them before. “
  • Neo: “What is The Matrix?” Morpheus: “Control. The Matrix is a computer generated dream world, built to keep us under control in order to change a human being into this. Morpheus holds up a battery to Neo.
  • "If real is what you can feel, smell, taste and see, then 'real' is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain."
  • "The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you're inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inert, so hopelessly dependent on the system that they will fight to protect it."
  • "You have to let it all go, Neo. Fear, doubt, and disbelief. Free your mind." 
  • “Matrix doesn’t tell you who you are.”
  • “Being chosen is not something somebody tells you, you must know it.”
  • Morpheus: “We've survived by hiding from them, by running from them. But they are the gatekeepers. They are guarding all the doors, they are holding all the keys. Which means that sooner or later, someone is going to have to fight them … their strength, and their speed, are still based in a world that is built on rules. Because of that, they will never be as strong, or as fast, as *you* can be.”
  • "There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path."
  • At the end, Neo suddenly spins around and stares Agent Smith straight in the face, a focused look on his face. Neo and Agent Smith are standing at opposite ends of the station. Neo takes a deep breath, focusing. He clenches his hands into fists, and relaxes them, pushing his fingers outwards. Trinity: “What is he doing?” Morpheus half-smiles to himself: “He's beginning to believe...”
  • [last lines] Neo: I know you're out there. I can feel you now. I know that you're afraid... you're afraid of us. You're afraid of change. I don't know the future. I didn't come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it's going to begin. I'm going to hang up this phone, and then I'm going to show these people what you don't want them to see. I'm going to show them a world without you. A world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this awesome aid! I am a teacher and presenting the Matrix in our Myths, Signs & Symbols class... this will make it a lot easier!