The Matrix and Plato’s Allegory of the Cave both revolve around the same metaphysical question, “what is real?” Both works share more similarities than differences.
In the Matrix, the main character, Neo, is trapped in a false reality created by a computer program. The program was created by machines that took over the planet. While in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, a prisoner is able to comprehend the reality of the cave and the real one outside the cave.
There are many similarities that these stories share. The main similarity is the acceptance of truth about themselves that Neo and the freed prisoner must face. They must accept this truth before they can acquire deeper knowledge about fundamental truths. To achieve this knowledge, both the freed prisoner and Neo need to experience the shocking demonstration that the senses are inadequate and that they can be systematically deceived. They both share a similar story about the epistemological unreliability of the senses and the need to abstract from the senses in order to gain genuine knowledge. Another similarity that these stories both share is the fact that both worlds are controlled by a greater power. For example, Neo lives in a world which is controlled by the matrix while Plato’s prisoner lives in a world, or cave, controlled by the form holders. They both also manage to escape from the world as they know it and come to know the world as it really is. Neo comes to realize that the life he has been leading so far is nothing but the life of a slave, shaped under the control of the Matrix, protected by the agents. Plato’s prisoner comes to realize first that the shadows he is looking at are not the truth, they are just shadows cast on the wall by the form holders. He sees the fire and as he follows the path which leads outside the cave, he sees the sun and everything else illuminated by it. The characters in both stories realize that they are prisoners and are completely unaware the reality they think they know is false. Both stories also share the gift of learning new feats. Neo, in the Matrix, is able to perform physically impossible feats once he learns to manipulate the matrix. The prisoner in the Allegory of the Cave learns infinite wisdom once he breaks free from the cave.
The very few differences between these two works include the fact that the Matrix has no forms while the Allegory of the Cave does. Also, unlike Plato’s prisoner, who manages to find his way out of the cave without any help from others, Neo is helped out by Morpheus.
In my opinion, the Matrix movie most effectively challenged me to reconsider my answer to the question “what is real?” I find the movie to not be as straight forward as the Allegory of the Cave. Reality is not as obvious in the Matrix which forces me to question my assumption about the concreteness of reality that surrounds me. I think this movie really makes people question their own reality and what it is to them. The Allegory of the Cave helped me reach a new understanding of external reality because it made me realize that you never know what reality is until you are faced with what is not reality. The prisoner lived his life thinking that reality was what he knew in the cave, but when he left the cave, the prisoner realized that true reality was what was outside the cave.
“The Matrix” modernizes the original allegory and adds a more humanistic appeal. It also focuses more on human emotion and feelings. These two works have many similarities and revolve around the same metaphysical question.
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Allegory of the Cave vs The Matrix Essay
1473 Words6 Pages
Imagine living through life completely bound and facing a reality that doesn’t even exist. The prisoners in Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” are blind from true reality as well as the people in the movie “The Matrix” written and directed by the Wachowski brothers. They are given false images and they accept what their senses are telling them, and they believe what they are experiencing is all that really exists. Plato the ancient Greek philosopher wrote “The Allegory of the Cave”, to explain the process of enlightenment and what true reality may be. In the movie “The Matrix”, Neo (the main character) was born into a world of illusions called the matrix. His true reality is being controlled by the puppet- handlers called the machines who…show more content…
In “The Allegory of the Cave,” Plato also stated that eventually one of the prisoners, who Plato would say was the philosopher or intellectual, would break free from the cave and into the outside world. The one prisoner that Plato refers to, would also reflect Neo in “The Matrix” when he in being released from his pod that the machines have created. Once the prisoner of the cave has broken free he can now look all around him, and see the objects as they really are and the people carrying them as well. While in the movie “The Matrix”, Neo is using is own eyes for the first time and sees that he is actually living in a human factory. In Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” he states that the freed prisoner would be shocked by the outside world, he would not be able to see the realities that he was used to deep in the shadows of the cave. The prisoner would try to think that what he saw and experienced before was truer than what is he sees now. When Neo is revived from being detached from the pod, Morpheus tells him what state the world is in now and Neo is in a state of disarray and denial. This new knowledge of the truth, overwhelmed Neo so much that he vomited and passed out. The released prisoner in “The Allegory of the Cave” might feel that what he is seeing was the illusion and shadows on the wall