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Offer a Detailed Critical Reflection on the Ways in Which the Matrix (wachowski Bros., 1999) Can Be Seen as Enacting Plato's Ð''allegory of the Cave'.

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"What is the Matrix? The Matrix is the world they pull over your eyes" (Matrix 1999). Plato's Ð''allegory of the cave' has much in common with the themes and ideas portrayed in The Matrix. The allegory of the cave is an analogy for the human condition. Plato's philosopher asks us to imagine slaves chained so as to not allow them to turn around. There is a fire lit in the entrance at the far end of the cave. There is a wall behind the slaves, which divides them and the puppet-handlers. The puppet handlers walk back and forth carrying artefacts include models of humans and animals while some talk and other don't. They can only see the shadows of the artefacts on the cave wall in front of them and would assume that they were real. He then asks us to imagine if one of the slaves were freed, and explained to that his past life had no substance. How he would first be dazzled by the firelight, and then would only be able to see reflections of light before eventually be able to look upon the sun itself, although it would pain him. Finally the philosopher asks us to imagine how the slave would cope if he went back to the cave, and sat back down. How the other slaves would mock him saying that he came back down without his eyes.

Plato's allegory philosophizes what would it be like if your world is just an illusion. He questions if these slaves were subjected to nothing but the shadows of reality from as long as they can remember how could they tell the difference between the world they experience inside the cave and the real world. In this way being inside Plato's cave is like being inside the matrix. The people inside the matrix are surrounded by a reality that unknown to them is created. The notion of reality is explored in both texts in very similar ways. They both toy with the notion that what is reality but the electrical signals received by your brain. In the matrix however the false reality is controlled by super intelligent AI, which controls mankind in a computer program known as the matrix.

When Morpheus first contacts Neo he directs him through a maze of cubicles and passageways that makes the office seem like he is escaping from the cave. It is the beginning of his journey to enlightenment. Neo is offered the "choice of returning to the world of appearance, or freeing himself from them" (Wark 1999). When he first awakes from the matrix in the pod he is amazed and bewildered just as the slave is described as. Plato describes the slave as being "dazzled" having "to grow accustomed to the sight of the upper world" (Plato 516b). After looking up into the bright lights of the hovercraft from the sewer into which he was dumped, he is lifted up. This light represents the sun and the answers he has been seeking. "When he approaches the light his eyes will be dazzled, and he will not be able to see anything at all of what are now called realities" (Plato 516a). When Morpheus collects him he asks why his eyes are sore, and is answered because he's never used them before.

There is a "frequent appearance of reflected images" (Ross 1999) in Plato. In The Matrix we often "see Neo reflected in the sunglasses of Morpheus, or in various metallic surfaces" (Ross 1999). We see him reflected in a cracked mirror just before he leaves the matrix that merges with his hand when touched, "the boundary between self and other is breached" (Wark 1999). The slave eventually sees the sun at last, and not mere reflections of the light. The Matrix parallels this when at the end of the film Neo manages to see the matrix for what it is Ð'- a computer program. The idea of someone teaching the freed slave is described in the allegory and is shown in The Matrix in the form of Morpheus. He teaches Neo the truth and opens his eyes to the real world. The instructor tests the freed slave just as Morpheus tests Neo's ability in The Matrix, his ability to bend some rules and break others.

In the cave the "shadows on the walls of the cave are images of the puppets, which themselves are images of the Forms" (Ross 1999). Themes running through the allegory of the cave are to do with how we deal with images in life; this is reflected in the core of The Matrix. Like when the freed slave questions the new reality, to Neo it is as questionable. How do they know that the Ð''real world' is not just another virtual reality simulation? The Matrix does not attempt this, and is probably for the best, as it would become too confusing. But one could wonder if the machines ever questioned their reality, are they being deceived by yet a higher reality.

In The Matrix humans scorched the skies. It was believed that the machines needed solar energy to survive, but AI realised it could live off human bioelectricity and so began harvesting people. In Plato's allegory the sun represents achievement of the intellectual world in the soul. To ascend the highest peak and gaze upon the sun is to be enlightened. The Matrix is set in a time where mankind had climbed the peaks of the soul, risen to new places of intellectual discovery and given birth to artificial intelligence. By blocking out the sun man has blackened his understanding in a last attempt to survive as a free people. By covering the sun man has sentenced himself to the matrix, into a world where reality is fake and freedom is denied. Mankind is totally oblivious to the world in which they live and the state in which they remain. The people of the world have removed there guiding light and all time and reality has been forgotten when the lights went out. It is the last bit of recorded history for the few that survive outside the matrix.

Morpheus goes in to Ð''wake up' other people but they don't always wish to be awakened. Cypher wants to go back. Many could argue that the matrix is as real as a human being could need, after all one is constantly stimulated, your senses telling you it is real, it smells, or tastes, or looks comfortable then why not accept it. After all it beats battling killing machines. What if you were awakened and realized you were a different person, you looked entirely different, would the mind be able to cope? Or even worse if you were just a brain in a jar, what existence would you prefer then? Plato's allegory and The Matrix both explore these issues.

Plato suggests that surely the freed slave would think it Ð''"Better to be the poor servant of a poor master" and to endure anything, rather than think as they do and live after their manner"' (Plato 516e). In The Matrix the main characters feel it better to live in the decimated real world than to live under an illusion of reality. "Yes, he said, i think

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