‘The Matrix’ is a captivating film that premiered in 1999 and was an instant favorite to the world due to the excellently choreographed scenes characterized by gun-fights in slow-motion, martial arts and stunning special effects. The film’s plot revolves around perceived reality, where humans are plugged into a computer system called the ‘Matrix’ and for as long as they are connected to the system they are detached from the real world and live in a false reality developed by the machines in control. The impressive success of the film sparked interest from many scholars and philosophers who drew parallels with other philosophical and religious concepts.
“The Allegory of the Cave’ on the other hand, is an illustration by the Greek philosopher Plato in his work ‘The Republic’ used to explore the notions of the real world versus the perceived world. He introduces the idea that the immediate world we perceive does not represent the real world, as it exists. He conjures up a cave with prisoners who have been in captivity from when they were born and are tied up in a way that they can only see in front, not sideways or backwards. The setting is such that behind them there is a fire that illuminates light, which casts shadows on the wall in front of the prisoners leading them to believe that the shadows are the real world.
Concept of reality: In the ‘Matrix’, machines have taken over the world controlling everything via a computer program that has created a false reality. Neo, the hero in the ‘Matrix’, like most other humans is trapped in this fabricated reality completely unaware of neither its existence nor the existence of the external reality (Reeves, Fishburne and Moss). In the ‘Allegory of the Cave’ by Plato, a prisoner taken captive in a cave becomes aware of the two worlds in existence around him; the reality in the cave and the reality that exists outside of the cave. In the beginning, these two characters are not able to differentiate between their world and the ‘real’ world but are eventually able to grasp the metaphysical concepts in play.
Wielder of power: In the ‘Allegory of the Cave’ as in the ‘Matrix’ the reality in which they live in is controlled by a superior authority, that is the imprisoners in the former (Cohen, 1) and the machines in the latter. The machines control the matrix system while the agents protect it. In both narratives, the powers that be manipulate the reality and make their subjects see only what they want them to see in order to hide the truth from them. In order to free themselves from the limitations imposed on them and attain freedom to live fully, they both must escape from the world, as they know it. Acceptance of the truth: In both narratives, the protagonists awaken from their remoteness become cognizant of the existence of the two realities, and face the unpleasant truth of which world they are a part. The truth is that they are slaves under invisible and seemingly invincible masters. This true knowledge is hard to come to terms with and in order to gain a better understanding of this new and essential realization; they must accept that their five senses are inadequate and vulnerable to dishonesty and illusions. Through a demonstration, they both experience the shocking realization that another reality; much bigger, richer and deeper can be perceived by going beyond the basic senses. For instance, the prisoner comes to a realization that the shadows cast on the walls are not real in themselves but are formed by the interaction of light from the fire and the puppets being manipulated by puppeteers (Cohen, 1). Learning new things: Having been born into the false reality as seen in Plato’s narrative “They have been there since childhood and have their legs and necks chained so that they cannot move.” After abandoning the illusion of reality, they are required to fit and cope with the new world that they have each been exposed to; they must