Matrix Versus Allegory of the Cave

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Plato’s classic The Allegory of the Cave and seminal science-fiction film The Matrix at first glance seem to have nothing in common. The first is written and set in the ancient times, revolving around Socrates telling his follower Glaucon about chained prisoners in a primitive cave watching shadow puppets lighted by a fire burning at the cave’s opening. The latter is a futuristic story set in a world controlled by artificial-intelligent computers that created the Matrix, a virtual world programmed for the humans to live in, as an attempt to keep the human race contained and under control. Although Plato’s The Allegory of the Cave and The Matrix were created in two very different centuries, they are related in many ways. Within the similarities between the two stories, themes that relate to both of the stories are presented.

Both stories have characters that are built around the same roles. For example, Neo represents the prisoner in the cave who discovers the true light of the real world. Neo had been living in a “cave,” which in this case is the Matrix. With the help of Morpheus and his team Neo is able to escape from his perception of reality and see the truth. Similarly, in Plato’s The Allegory of the Cave, the prisoner was able to come out of the cave with the help of the man whose name was not mentioned. Both the prisoner and Neo are ignorant of the truth until their mentors enlighten them. But accepting the truth is not easy for both as well; regarding the prisoners, Socrates explains that “At first, when any of them is liberated... he will suffer sharp pains; the glare will distress him, and he will be unable to see the realities of which in his former state he had seen shadows.” Neo similarly suffers when he sees the “true light,” which is to him the real and cruel world outside of the Matrix that he cannot seem to grasp because it seems too bad to be true. Another strikingly similar set of characters is Morpheus and the unnamed man. They both serve as...
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