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Symbolism in The Matrix Essay Introduction
The Matrix is a film, which depicts the condition of the world in the view of civilization in terms of machinery and technology in control of humanity. This film exists in a series, The Matrix (1999), The Matrix Revolutions, and The Matrix Reloaded (2003). According to the American Civil Liberation union, the Matrix is a program that provides information to the authorities about the whereabouts of the people by linking commercial and government databases to ease the tracking of criminals (2003). Morpheus, an actor in the film sees the Matrix as a system and enemy that control people. Neo is the main actor who realizes the bondage in the matrix system and is very determined to save people out of it. The film uses imagery and symbolism from real-life situations and some of them are derived from a biblical context.
Slavery and Bondage
Morpheus described the world as a matrix and that everyone born into this matrix is a slave. This relates to the biblical story of slavery experienced by the Israelites when they were in Egypt. The Israelites lives were “…made bitter with hard service, in mortar and brick, and in all kinds of work in the in the field…” (Exodus 1: 12-14, New International Version). The Israelites suffered similarly as depicted in the Matrix. The bible describes this world as a sinful world. People in the world are enslaved by sin because, in the bible, Jesus said, “everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin” (John 8:34, Revised Standard Version). Men; as a false reality to hide the truth and control men as slaves of technology and machinery creates these slavery conditions.
From both the film and the bible perspective, people are trying to find solutions out of the world that is continually enslaving them. The challenges experienced by the people within the matrix world are enslavement and machination of humankind and they are either oblivious or helpless in their bondage (Samudrala, 2010). The bible illustrates the helpless state of sinners who cannot rescue themselves from sin because they have been enslaved by it. Jesus sacrificed himself by coming into the cruel and sinful world and died for the people he loved to rescue them from their sinful slavery, and now is calling those who are laboring and heavy laden, to give rest (Matthew11:28, New International Version). After Neo realized how people are undergoing slavery and his ability to save people, he ventures into the rescue mission to fight for the people who are trapped in the matrix of false realities.
Prophecy of a Savior
In the matrix film, one man is thought to be born inside during its creation and the man can set his people free from the matrix control, as he sets free Morpheus. The man dies and Oracle prophesies that he will come again in the future to destroy the Matrix. Morpheus is going around looking for the savior of the people from the matrix until he gets Neo whom they believe will save them (Michael, 2010). From a biblical perspective, Jesus is the savoir of people. Jesus is prophesized to be born in the sinful world by the prophets like Isaiah; he can free and heals the people bonded in sin, he died, resurrected, and will come again to save his people and destroy the sinful world. The correlation of the two stories portrays Neo as the savior of the people in the matrix context as Jesus is the savior of the whole world. The qualities depicting Neo such as the power to save, the ability to resurrect, and having been prophesized correlate with the story of Jesus in the bible.
Tanks describe himself as the child of Zion and Zion city as “the last human city, buried deep in the earth, near the core, for warmth” (Michael, 2010). The Zion city is viewed as the city of refuge after Neo has come back to life again and save his people from the slavery and bondage of civilization and take them to the fortified city of Zion where they will be free from the system of a matrix (Samudrala, 2010). The crew of the Nebuchadnezzar, after a deadly fight with the sentinels, sought refuge in the city of Zion, and in the end, the war between matrix armies and Neo armies revolved around the city of Zion. Finally, the city of Zion provided a refuge place to the people against the evil armies being led by the matrix agents, Smith, Jones, and Brown.
In the biblical story, the city of Zion is a great city for the people who are redeemed from the sinful world by Jesus. Prophet Isaiah is encouraging people to “Look upon Zion, the city of our festivals; your eyes will see Jerusalem, a peaceful abode, a tent that will not be moved; its stakes will never be pulled up, nor any of its ropes broken” (Isaiah 33:20, New International Version). The city of Zion is being depicted as a great and strong city that no armies can conquer and enter into it but only those that have been rescued by their savior. In the bible, the city of Jerusalem is called Zion and when the new earth and new heaven come is formed, the city of Jerusalem will descend from above with the people who have been rescued. The rescued people in Zion will never see death or pain anymore. (Revelation 20:1-4, New International Version). Neo is seen as the only savior to protect the Zion city against powerful aggression by the armies of the matrix system (Michael, 2010).
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The two Zion cities have similar characteristics and functions. The Matrix film derived the name and characteristics of the city of Zion from the bible and applied it in the fortified city of rescue against the ruthless army of the matrix who wants to control humankind with their matrix technology and machinery that are very sophisticated in tracking and controlling people (Samudrala, 2010). People are not struggling to enter into the strong and great city of Zion where they will be assured of safety, no death nor do pain but feast and happiness reign because the savior of humanity is there.
Nebuchadnezzar is a ship, which carried Neo and his crew. In the Bible, Nebuchadnezzar was a king of Babylon who attacked and conquered Jerusalem taking into captive Joachim king of Judah together with his family, mighty men, and treasures of Jerusalem (II Kings 24:11-16, New International Version). Nebuchadnezzar has been used symbolically to show how mighty is the ship in fighting the enemies as Neo and his crew used it in the fight against matrix armies.
Trinity is a Christian term that refers to the three witnesses that bear witness in heaven because Christians are baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19, New International Version). The girlfriend of Neo is called Trinity, hence the name has been derived from the Christian view of the biblical personalities that are in heaven involved in the creation of the world and humanity.
The name of the main actor, Neo Anderson has biblical symbolism. In Greek, Neo means “New” is and also is an anagram of “One” while Ander means “Man” thus the name of the actor is symbolically Son of Man which is the name of Jesus in the bible (Luke 22:69, New International Version). This shows why Neo Anderson portrays the qualities of Christ in his abilities and mission to rescue people from the bondage of a matrix system that has clouded the lives of many people just as Jesus came to save his beloved people.
The creation of man in the Garden of Eden signifies a very novel and origin of a happy life eternally. When man sinned, suffering and pain followed humanity up to now and until the time Jesus will come again. Likewise, the invention of powerful machines made people blissful because work on earth is simplified and made efficient. The matrix system utilizes this great technology in manipulation and control of humankind for the selfish interest resulting in slavery-like sin in the biblical perspective.
The Matrix Symbolism Essay Conclusion
The Matrix film is an exposition and prediction of the negative effects that technology and machinery can have in our lives, changing us into mere creatures to be manipulated by the matrix system of the world. The ability of the matrix system to trace people and record all the personal details in all aspects of our lives means that the right to privacy will no longer feasible in the 21 century. The film drew more imagery and symbolism from the Bible indicating that the state of our freedom is beyond our control, only the Supreme Being whom everyone is hoping to come one day and rescue us. Though the film seems to be a fiction story, extrapolating it into reality will give us an insight into what to expect in the world of technology.
Michael, M. (2010). The Matrix Revolutions. The Internet Movie Database. Web.
Samudrala, R. (2010). The Matrix Movie Series. Movie Ramblings. Web.
The American Civil Liberties Union. (2003). The Matrix: Total Information Awareness Reload. Matrix Report, Web.
The Holy Bible. The New International Version.