Plato's "The Allegory of the Cave" and The Matrix

Essay by cricket6614College, UndergraduateA, November 2004

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There are a number of similarities between Plato's "The Allegory of the Cave" and the movie, The Matrix. Although they appear to be different, both depict a character imprisoned, the release of the prisoner, and the prisoner's new responsibilities. Plato illustrates prisoners chained to a wall unable to move and look around. Once the prisoner is released, he steps into a new life and truth, having to readjust. Now that the prisoner is released does he have a sense of obligation to the other prisoners to enlighten them as well? This is a question that Plato raises in "The Allegory of the Cave." On the other hand, The Matrix portrays the human race enslaved in a computer generated world of false reality. Neo, once enslaved, is now released in the "real world" and has to decide if he wants to fight for his human race or live in ignorance.

Overall, the main characters undergo a number of changes as they experience three stages of transitions: imprisonment, enlightenment, and a new found responsibility.

In both "The Allegory of the Cave" and The Matrix there is some nature of imprisonment. Plato's prisoners are in an underground den facing nothing but a wall of shadows. "...truth would be literally nothing but the shadows of the images" (Plato 316). To these prisoners these shadows are real and that is all they know. They have a sense of security and understanding for their life because they have adapted to this lifestyle. Neo is blindly imprisoned in the matrix convinced what he is living and feeling is reality, but he has a sense that something is not right. Trapped in a false reality with false memories he knows nothing except that he is unfulfilled. He is searching for something, some...