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The Matrix Essay

3640 words - 15 pages

The Matrix A Pop Culture Fusion of Western Literature Literary Masterpieces ? Professor Hirschberg ? 12/6/00 Initially, I didn?t get it. Having heard that the Matrix was a smooth sci-fi fusion of virtual reality, amazing martial arts effects, and philosophical undertones I took my girlfriend to see it at the local theater as soon as she was back from college. The special effects were truly breathtaking: I found myself dumbfounded at the first fight scene as the camera panned 180° around a hovering Trinity before she delivered a lethal flying center kick to the police officer foolish enough to try to arrest her. I have to admit, though, that as the movie progressed I found myself ...view middle of the document...

com have generated thousands of messages by Matrix fans discussing the ideas and details in the film. Truly The Matrix has broken the rules of movie reception: ?even the best action and sci-fi movies come and go, and most cult films bomb at the box office before finding a loyal audience on video, but The Matrix has broken all the rules? (Armstrong). I believe that the reason The Matrix has been so widely embraced by its audience is the way in which it so successfully incorporates ideas and philosophies prevalent in our culture.Pop culture media will very often use elements of ancient story telling or history as its theme. Popular movies such as DreamWorks? Prince of Egypt, Disney?s Hercules, and Universal?s End of Days all incorporate concepts of the ancient world. The popularity of these films is due, I believe, to what the late Francis Schaeffer called ?cultural memory??the concept that certain images and ideas of old are imprinted on our collective hearts as a culture. Sadly, movies such as these tend to only retell the story, and more often than not the attempt to put a modern ?spin? on the tale results in an obtuse storyline (as in the case of End of Days). The Matrix, to its own merit, goes above and beyond a simple rehashing of old stories. True to a postmodern ideal, The Matrix integrates a number of ideologies. The storyline is rife with subtexts; the Wachowski brothers manage to fuse together ideas from Buddhism, Gnosticism, Platonic philosophy, Christianity, Zen teaching, existentialism, Alice in Wonderland, Greek religious history, and countless others. Most of these topics fall outside the scope of this paper, which will only focus on those concepts drawn from the ancient Western world: namely, Greek religious history, Platonic philosophy, and Christian history and soteriology.One of the elements of the ancient world that The Matrix incorporates is Greek panoply of gods and religious worship system. One very plain example of this is Morpheus? alias. According to Greek mythology, Morpheus was the name of the god of dreams: ?The Somnus [the god of sleep] called out of his numerous sons?Morpheus?the most expert in counterfeiting form and in imitating the walk, the countenance, and mode of speaking, even the clothes and attitudes most characteristic of each. But he only imitates men?? (Bullfinch). This is a fascinating likeness to the Morpheus of The Matrix. Morpheus tells Neo that he?s ?been living in a dream world.? In this dream world, Morpheus takes on the form, in a sense, of man as other men view him.*This paragraph omitted because it sucked.* The Matrix also incorporates a number of concepts from the philosophy of Plato. Plato lived from 428-348 BC and is often viewed as one of the fathers of modern philosophy (Melden, 20). Of his many published writings, perhaps one of his most important was The Republic in which Plato, through his use of the Socratic dialog, discusses the nature and method of philosophy in the hopes of creating...

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