Matrix Revolutions explained in mytholgy (Spoilers)

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After watching the Matrix revolutions I was immediately pleased with the ending of the trilogy but still thoroughly confused by the ending, that is until I thought long and hard about it.

A good deal of the Matrix's storyline coincides with Greek mythology (also with Roman mytholgy obviously since it parallels the same story line).

Anyways this first occured to me in reloaded since the name of the wife of the Merovingian was Persephone. Persephone was kidnapped by Hades and brought to the underworld as his wife. This would make the Merovingian Hades in Greek mytholgy, the god of the underworld. Now the Merovingian is definitely a controller of the underworld in the Matrix, as is more evident in revolutions as he is found in a seedy club surrounded by S&M dancers resembling some sort of ultra-goth-techno hell which he seems to control. And as anyone can see Persephone the wife of the Merovingian certainly seems trapped as an unwilling participant in this whole seen by her husband which may make her so apt to help Neo and Co. So that about wraps it up for them.

What got me thinking in Revolutions was Neo's ability to straddle the machine-matrix-human realm with Agt. Smith, and the whole last part in which Smith consumes Neo, leaving the Oracle in his place and destroying Smith's rule, leaving a rebuilt Matrix and the Oracle the Architecht.

Let's start with mythology. Ouranos was the King of gods known as Heaven, who's wife was Gaea, or Mother Earth. Together they sired Titans (Cycolopes and 100armed 50 headed monsteres, ets.) Now Cronus was king of the Titans. Cronus married Rhea and sired the Olympians, whom he ate. Hang in here with me people. Now Cronus ate his kids the Olympians, except for Zeus, who was saved from being eaten, by being tricked into eating a rock instead, puking up all the kids, which ended up in a big kids vs. grownup war.

So let's make the analogy here. Ouranos would be the Architect of the Matrix, the machine side which created the Matrix. Gaea would be the Oracle, or the Human side of the Matrix, perhaps plugged into the Matrix herself? Husband and wife, machines and humans, heaven and earth. With me so far?
Together they create Agt. Smith who would be Cronus. 100 armed 50 headed monsters = many Agt. Smiths? Also Agt. Smith devoured all his children, as he learned to consume and make part of him anyone in the Matrix by touching and consuming them with his little spreading silver tricky thing. Now Neo would be Zeus. As you recall Zeus was saved from being eaten by tricking Cronus a eating a rock and puking up his children. Now in the Matrix Agt. Smith is "tricked", as he says himself, into consuming Neo himself. In turn Agt. Smith is destroyed and is forced to "puke" or give up all his "children" meaning by the matrix falling apart, all the people are let go from being trapped inside it.

Now explanations for the parallels and random thoughts follow:
-Zeus was the King of the gods, but Ouanos was the first king, Neo meaning "new" would be the new king in this story.
-Cronus/Agt. Smith was closer to being a god or in the surreal god world where unhumanly things were possible and Neo/Zues was closer to being human, but still a hybrid of both. This explains Neo's and Agt. Smith's abilities to straddle the two worlds of the Matrix and the real world and Neo's ability to exhibit powers over the machine world.
-The Oracle and The Architect speak as if husband in wife in some everlasting power struggle in the end. The Oracle asks for his word to which he responds "as if I was human". This means A) he is not human and therefore machine and B) the oracle is not machine but more closely related to humanity.
-the Merovingian would have control over the train station or the realm between the matrix and reality. This would be like Hades (or other parallel mythological figures) having control over Purgatory. A strange world of nothingness that exists between the physical and surreal worlds.
-Neo would not be "dead" in the end because the Oracle says she hopes they will meet again. this would be because Neo is not human or machine. But an entity or "child" as you may say between the two. Being neither human nor machine, but an entity between them, he cannot "die" as a human does. Just like the Oracle did not die but "found a new shell".
-this may be obvious, but Agt. Smith in consuming Neo, would give Neo access to everything that he does. Therefore, Neo being a part of Agt. Smith yields power over everything that he does, giving him power over the Matrix and machine world.
-After everyone is freed, as is paralleled by Cronus vomiting his children, it is agreed between the Oracle and the Architect that everyone who "wants to" will be freed. I take this as meaning pretty much everyone will be given a red pill-blue pill choice to take in some form or another.
-The rebuilding of the Matrix at the end is the Sixth version as there were five before it, however this time the humans have won the battle, the oracles side. This is a recurring game the Oracle and the Architect play. Now the score is 5-1. What happens now?
-The peace between the humans and machines will exist just as a peace between the "gods and humans" existed in ancient times. Waring factions at times, but ultimately existing dependent upon each other and found at the mercy of each other at times. Will it last?

I just saw this movie an hour ago. I have a lot of things to sort out. The movie is not a perfect parallel or mythology or vice versa. there may be holes in my arguments or facts and I welcome criticism. What I am mainly trying to point out are the parallels in storylines of greek/roman mytholgy and the matrix which I think is a genius thing to do. Take some of the most intriuging stories of all time, as is evidenced by the passing on of greek mythological stories, and give it a cool new techno-goth-cool-popculture-style resurfacing and adding a lot of different elements, lessons and stylistic touches to it.

If you got this far, thanks for reading my drunken philosophic ideas smile

A brief table of analogies to sum everything up:
Matrix = Heaven or world of the gods, anything possible
Mother Earth/Gaea = Human reality, physical boundaries
Ouranos = Architect
Gaea = Oracle
Cronus = Agt. Smith
Neo = Zeus
Merovingian = Hades
Persephone = Persephone

OK thats about it for now. Please if anyone has ideas on who the little Indian girl might symbolize please tell me and to the makers of the matrix who I doubt are reading this but I know many will agree with me....


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wow. awesome. im printing this out.

Good analysis. But one step further. If the Merovingian is Hades then the trainman, who takes people from the Matrix on his train at the Merovingian's orders would be Charon, the boatman who took people over the river Styx to the land of the dead (like Neo stuck in the train station, those who were not buried with a piece of money to pay the boatman were left in a sort of limbo)

Actually, I think it goes a little deeper than a direct correspondence to mythology. I am noticing that people either love this movie or hate it and that might have to do with what people expect to get out of it.

If you are looking for a tight story line - you will be disappointed because the story is not the main point of this movie. If, however, you want a movie that makes people question their reactions to the human condition, they you will probably enjoy it.

The scene in the train stations, which seems to be disliked by those looking for a story, is actually pivotal for the purpose of the movie itself. It is the moment when Neo first realizes that the programs, originally created to keep humans subdued, have now developed their own personalities, complete with morals, desires, love, despair and courage. He realizes that the programs also struggle with questions about the meaning of life.

Hence, we have the introduction of several philosophies in the machine world. the Merovingian is fatalistic hedonism. His view is that he can not change life so he might as well enjoy all he can, which loses him the love of his wife. The Oracle is more stoic, she sees the future, choices have already been made, but chooses to face the known future with dignity and courage. Smith is the ultimate Nietzsche, the will to power consumes all else, the stronger rules the weaker (And Smith becomes what he despised humans for being, a virus). The couple in the train station are more existentialist. They face their lot in life, finding meaning in doing what they can but also making the sacrifices necessary to ensure the life of their daughter.

All in all, I was not disappointed that it left a lot of questions unanswered, most philosophies have a lot of unanswered questions. I was a bit disappointed that they didn't develop any of the philosophical questions further or in a new direction. The only unique twist was in the first movie. In Plato's cave, the philosopher tries to wake people up the the wider reality of the world. The idea is that the wider reality outside the cave is infinitely better than the narrow view inside. But, what if you wake up and find that reality is infinitely worse than the dream? They began to develop that idea in the first movie but then it was lost in the next two and I was rather disappointed that they didn't take it further.

In the end, I found myself mildly sympathetic to the machines. They will keep their word because they are not human. But people are far too human and we know the humans will not leave well enough alone. The war will begin again shortly. And so the architect, with his limitations of perfection, is a mildly pathetic Zeus, unable to fully understand or control what he himself has made. And, though the Oracle is fatalistic, "the peace will last as long as it lasts," we know that her desire to allow humans and programs who wish to leave the confines of the matrix to do so with be her undoing. Humans will never let well enough alone. They will not be satisfied letting the dreamers dream. They will insist on waking everyone up, even when people do not want to be waked up. When enough humans have left and gained strength, they will again continue the war. And in the end, whether the humans win or the machines destroy the humans (and with them their source of power) the Matrix world will be decimated. And so the dawn is a false hope and hails not a new world but the last gasp of the old and a breathing space before humans and machines ultimately destroy each other.

One last note, it is interesting that Morpheus, who wakes people up in the movie, is the god of sleep and dreams and Greek mythology.

Here's another idea, instead of casting Neo as Zeus, how about Neo as Prometheus? He was the titan who brought fire (and therefor civilization and a little freedom from the dominion of the gods) to mankind, earning the anger of the gods. The gods then sent Pandora's box to earth. When she opened it, all the evils of the world came out. But hope also came out into the world. Neo, by using the power of the matrix (the power of the gods?), brings both extreme danger to people but also hope (as the architect said, the source of mankind's greatest strength and also their greatest weakness). He opens their eyes to their potential, but in doing so, also opens the possibility of great suffering and destruction. Also, once blinded, he sees the machine world in terms of light and fire.

This is really quite interesting... and makes perfect sense to me. Heh, I don't believe I pretty much knew all this stuff and didn't even think of it. Again, still regaining control over my mind from Revs.


The Force
standing ovation to the ppl that wrote that much big grin

the smartest noob i've seen smile

Chester and a few others, great ideas. I agree that the story isnt meant to be a direct correlation but draws a lot from it and philosophy and other religions as well. Good work on the Orpheus thing too. This movie has so many interesting connections and forms of symbolism, I love it. I would love to share my new ideas from overnight although I gotta go to work, I'll write more later. Hasta...

Sir Yelof
Aha! I was trying to figure out who the trainman could be, and I missed it. Don't forget that MOBIL (from "Mobil Ave"wink is an anagram of LIMBO, completing the definition of it as a place between worlds. So why is he such a disheveled mess? Is he some sort of opposite of the Merovingian's refinements?

Other related observations:
- Everyone around the Merovingian wears bondage costumes, perhaps indicating how they are slaves to the physical (if contrived) pleasures of the Matrix. It's all about indulgence.
- Self-sacrifice, which is the opposite of indulgence, is the only way to fight the hedonism of the Merovingian, and the only way Trinity finds her way back to Neo.
- Where Merv is hedonism, Smith is certainly all about nihilism, from the desire to end all life (including his own) to the hatred of everything in the world (listen to him go on about how he hates the stink of his body). Why go on? Why bother? Why struggle? he asks Neo. Whereas the Architect has created the world that entraps humans, and the Oracle struggles to free those humans, Smith is the embodiment of Evil. The only way to defeat this evil, the evil of accepting that nothing matters? By choosing to, apparently.
- I wonder if Smith was defeated because once he destroyed Neo, he no longer had a purpose. Programs without a purpose do not last in the Matrix, right?

When Neo's eyes were burned out, I almost laughed out loud. "Of course," I thought. Ever since Luke Skywalker tried fighting with his blast shield down, we've all been vaguely aware of the whole use-the-Force fight better without seeing argument of various martial arts. The only way for Neo to "see truly" was to have his sight taken away. Now what the heck is he actually seeing with this yellow stuff? Maybe yellow = all things machine, or maybe the essence of the matrix, since the bluish background of the real world plus the yellow of the machines equals the green tint of all things in the matrix.) It's only by losing his perception of the world that he can truly see the underpinnings of the Matrix-source and of Evil Incarnate in Smith. Also, Keanu Reeves blindfolded and mutilated is a much better actor -- it's nice not to see his blank expression.

Now I need someone to explain why the Oracle and the Architect are playing chess. Whew. My brain is done. Next contestant?
--Sir Yelof

MC Mike
Wow... this is really good stuff!

On the blindness: for some reason, blindness and inner knowledge go together in a great deal of mythology. Homer was blind (interesting to see that his Iliad "Troy" was previewed at the first showing of Matrix in our town). One of the Norse gods (was it Woden?) lost an eye in order to gain greater wisdom. The symbol for prescription in English Rx comes from the Egyptian symbol that represents the eye of Horus (he lost an eye in order to gain insight into healing). And who were the three hags in Greek Mythology who shared an eye?

This is just guesswork, but I think the Oracle and the Architect are playing chess because of an issue of control vs dependence foreshadowed in M2 when the Counsellor takes Neo to engineering level of Zion and talks about how humans control machines and are, in turn, controlled by them.

The Architect and the Oracle have a love/hate relationship other because the programs who control all are in turn controlled by their own programing. It is their fatal flaw. the architect can only understand balance and control. Even when the Oracle provides an answer to the dilemma by pointing out humanity's inherent weaknesses, the Architect can only see it as another means to control his creation. The Oracle's fatal flaw is her inability to see beyond her programing, which is to seek to understand human error and diversity. The freedom which produces such variety is so central to her programming that she must foster it, even if doing so will ultimately spell the doom of the matrix.

And so, just as in Greek Mythology, humans create gods (machines) in their own image (Hesiod), only to find that in the end they are enslaved by the very gods they created.

And the gods in turn, create and control men initially as their slaves, only to find that, in the end, they are, in fact dependant upon their human slaves and are, therefore, controlled in some measure by own creation.

Good point about Smith being destroyed when his purpose ended. Without purpose he can not exist. Meanwhile, the little girl, who had no purpose initially, finds purpose in being loved by her parents and in loving Neo. Therefore, she not only continues to exist but is also, seemingly, a powerful program. Powerful enough to create a sunrise at least.

OK, I'm done, enough typing today.

well, sorry, but it sounds really farfetched and a lot of it doesn't make sense.

for example:

you forgot to mention that Kronos was ruler of the skies (prime deity) in between those two, after he cut off his father's nutsack. how exactly does this tie into the matrix?

SmshtPumkn> you did a very detailed, on-target post, and that is welcomed. I have a few things wrong with it, though. for one, when Architect says "As if i were human" means that he is not human, or that he is not able to change his mind in a duplicitous manner. Once he has made his mind, he does not change it.

Holy shit, that just hit me!

I've enjoyed what's been said so far, only addressing what seems to be a recurring question. What did the little girl represent?

Please forgive my lack of reference due to time constraints. I won't look up who talked of the girl program as creating "the new dawn." But this cemented what I would like to suggest about her character.

The girl could create a new dawn because she is exactly that. As Smith said in "The Matrix," the machines were an "inevitable" step in evolution.

From the moment we became human, we created machines of increasing complexity. As humans, we cannot exist without machines, which is alluded to in "The Matrix: Reloaded." Morpheus says we "rejoiced" at our creation of artificial intelligence. We more or less immediately lost control at this point, and actually became slaves to the very machines we created (as noted in previous posts).

What we created, as the founder of Apple Computers once famously suggested concerning technology, is the next step in evolution. The little girl is a product of two machines that learned to "love" giving them the ability to step beyond themselves to protect their progeny. These two machines took considerable personal risk to ensure the existence of their "child."

Thus the next step in evolution. The new "nature" is now the Matrix. Humans created the groundwork for the Architect and the Oracle who use devices like "the sum remainder of an unbalanced equation" (Neo) to keep the Matrix in balance. This ultimately gives rise to a "child" whose machine parents become able to do something other than hide in the Matrix or go back to the source...

I spit this out and haven't thought through any more. I'm curious if the above (or any part of it) has any relevance-- please post.

great thread.

very good to have the the parallels in storylines of greek/roman mytholgy explained/discussed

but we have to remember that the film draw on many myths/religions - christianity+ all the indian references for example

"The girl (Sati) could create a new dawn because she is exactly that. As Smith said in "The Matrix," the machines were an "inevitable" step in evolution."

the machines were an "inevitable" step in evolution - (r)evolution!

Great thread here, i just have a couple of things to add (note, i'm not really themed in ancient mythologies or religions, these are just my thoughts while i was watching the movie):

1. When the Oracle said that the Architect's purpose was to 'balance' the equation and her purpose was to 'unbalance' the equation, the first thing i thought was Order/Chaos. People have already noted that the two had some kind of love/hate relationship. But one cannot exist without the other.

2. Did anyone else notice the similiraties in the ending between Revolutions and Excalibur? In Revolutions, Neo was being taken away in what (to me anyway) looked like a sort of barge/boat. In Excalibur (or Arthurian Legend), King Arthur was taken away in a barge/boat and i remember reading somewhere (of Arthurian Legend) that he would return one day. The Oracle did mention at the end of Revolutions that she'll see Neo again one day.

3. I can't figure out the connection between Seraph and the Merovingian. I fully agree that the Merovingian represented Hades and that trainman was Charon, but Merv called Seraph the 'Prodigal Son'. Anyone have any ideas on that relationship?

Kindred-X> the order/choas idea is good. opposites is a main theme in the films as someone said before.

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