The Cave and the Matrix

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Movie critics and philosophers alike agree that the movie "The Matrix" is indeed based upon certain Platonic themes from Book VII of The Republic. In this story entitled "The Allegory of the Cave," he describes a dark underground cave where a group of people are sitting in one long row with their backs to the cave's entrance. Chained to their chairs from an early age, all the humans can see is the distant cave wall in from of them. The shadows of statues held by unseen ‘puppet handlers' reflect on the walls from the light of a fire that is also out of sight of those in the cave. The theme of the allegory is that their reality is a poor copy of the real world. According to Plato, our world is nothing but shadows, imperfect manifestations of the forms. Similar to the prisoners of the cave, the humans trapped in the matrix (the cave) only see what the machines (the modern day puppet-handlers) want them to see. They are tricked into believing that what they hear in the cave and see before them is the true reality that exists. Furthermore, they accept what their senses are telling them and they believe that what they are experiencing is all that really exists--nothing more. The movie not only incorporates these same ideas, the story line of the movie parallels that of the allegory. The most important character is who Plato calls the "Philosopher" or the "Intellectual." In the allegory, Plato hypothesizes that one of the prisoners eventually be released or escape from his chains and flee the cave. The philosopher/intellectual would then be able to see the real objects as well as the puppet-handlers who are holding these objects. In the movie, "The Matrix" this scene directly parallels with Neo's scene in the matrix pod. Looking around in shock, Neo sees, for the first time, his true surroundings. He is actually living in a human factory. At first, Plato says that the Freed Prisoner would be confused at what he saw. As for Neo, when he is finally confronted with...
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