Marxist and Semiotic Analysis of the Matrix

Topics: The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, The Matrix Pages: 9 (3768 words) Published: October 8, 2007

The Matrix was written and directed by Andy and Larry Wachowski. It released in 1999. The film belongs to the science fiction genre and revolves around a young man by the name of Thomas Anderson who is on a quest to discover what the mysterious "Matrix" is. The movie draws inspiration from a Japanese anime known as "Ghost in a Shell".

The Wachoski brothers incorporated many signs and symbols into the movie relating to Christianity, Greek mythology and Marxism. It contains several references to the book " Alice in Wonderland" by Lewis Carroll. There is much that can be interpreted by reading in between the lines of the film and it is for this reason that I have chosen to analyze the text of the film.


Marxist thought was developed by Karl Marx. It is one of the most powerful and suggestive ways available to the media analyst for analyzing society and its institutions. "The Matrix" has a sizable amount of Marxist thought hidden away in it.

When Neo is brought to the real world, Morpheus tells him that humanity is fighting a war against intelligent machines created early in the 21st century. After being denied their primary power source, the Sun, by the human race, the machines responded by enslaving human beings and using them as their source for energy, growing countless people in immense fields of pods identical to the one in which Neo awoke. It turns out that the world which Neo has inhabited since birth, the Matrix, is an illusory simulated reality construct of the world of 1999, developed by the machines to keep the human population docile whilst they are connected to generators and their energy is harvested.

According to Marxism, the Base, which is the economic means of production is divided into the Bourgeios and the Proletariat. In the film, The machines and the humans represent these subdivisions. The Bourgeios was the upper class and consisted of the people who owned the ecomonic means of production. The machines and artificial intelligence represent the Bourgeios. They are in control of the humans and the entire matrix. The Proletariat was the working class. They worked for the Bourgeios. The humans represent this class. The machines are dependent on the energy produced by the humans for their survival. In the same way, the Buorgeiose is dependent on the Proletariat's labour for their economic means of production.

To keep the Proletariat docile and cooperative, the members of the Bourgeios create a sense of "false consciousness". This is represented by the simulated world that the humans are kept in, the matrix. This world is an illusion created by the machines to keep the humans from realising the truth. The humans are unaware that the world outside had been taken over by the machines and they continue to exist as if nothing has happened. They are kept in pods that are isolated from each other by the machines. This is indicative of the alienated labour of the Proletariat.

Neo, Morpheus and the others represent those who believe in the Marxist school of thought. They are the trying to awaken people from the false consciousness that has been created by the machines. Because they know that the Matrix is an illusion, they are not subject to the rules that govern it and this makes them free from laws such as gravity, speed, etc. Similarly, those who followed the Marxist school of thought were free from the false consciousness created by the Bourgeois. Neo, Morpheus and the others are hunted by the Matrix's bodyguards who are known as "Agents". These are programs created by the Mainframe to hunt down potential threats and control them. The Agents represent "consumer lust" to which many of Neo's comrades fall prey.

There exist humans who were born free like Tank and others born in Zion. They could not enter the matrix as they lacked devices implanted by the machines to connect them to the system.They represent the people who created and followed the...
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