Writer: Hazem Ashraf
Editor: Khaled Mohamed
Picture Credits: Bleeding Cool
Imagine that you suddenly discover that you’re living in an illusion; the feelings you had, the oxygen you inhaled, and even the food you ate, were all part of a sophisticated program that used ones and zeros. This is the plot of The Matrix.
Before reading this article, take a listen to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. “Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?,” are the first two lines that Freddie Mercury sings, and they pretty much sum up the plot of the movie. Our protagonist Neo has been liberated from the system by Morpheus and his team, and now everybody expects him to be the one to end the Human-Machine war that started years ago when the machines took control of everything and kept the humans under control in the Matrix. On Neo’s journey, he learns more about the matrix and the ongoing war, and partakes in some pretty sick fight scenes with Matrix agents.
Today, we’ll be going through some of the most prominent references featured within this amazing trilogy and speculating about their origins. So strap in and be warned: SPOILER ALERT!
Are these references coincidental?
Have you ever asked yourself before who or what Neo’s character represents? Actually, he represents The One in various religions; to Muslims he can be viewed as the expected Mahdi, or he could be the Messiah that the Jewish people await. We’ll be running with the latter interpretation as our main hypothesis throughout this article.
You might not remember, but The Nebuchadnezzar was the name of the ship that Morpheus captained. The reason why they chose such a complicated name, though, is because it came from the Old Testament; it’s a reference to Nebuchadnezzar II, the greatest king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire who is well-known in Jewish history for the Babylonian Captivity.
To summarize, in 587 BC, King Nebuchadnezzar II led a military campaign against the Jewish kingdom of Judah, where he placed the city of Jerusalem under siege, and then succeeded in breaking into the city and destroying it,along with Solomon’s Temple. Nebuchadnezzar then took captive ~20,000 Jews and kept them in Babylon for more than 50 years.
In the trilogy, Zion was the single remaining safe city in the world, but it’s also the name of one of two hills that King David established his kingdom on, the hill gradually becoming ubiquitous with Jerusalem and the Kingdom of David as a whole. Why did they use this particular name in the movie? You must surely know that Zionism as an ideological movement derived its name from Zion!
Let’s talk about the Greeks!
Morpheus is the inspirational figure in the movie, who believes in Neo and sees him as The One. Do you remember that iconic scene? The one where Morpheus offered Neo two pills, one red and the other blue. The red pill would have allowed Neo to know the naked truth, but at the cost of having an uncertain future, “No pain, no gain,” as they say. The blue pill, on the other hand, would have allowed Neo to live in the Matrix world in peace, and to forget all about those weird people with their black coats and strange ideas.
But back to Morpheus; in The Metamorphoses, an 8 AD Latin narrative poem by Roman poet Ovid and inspired byGreek Mythology, Morpheus refers to the god of sleep. He takes on the form of a human to appear in one’s dreams. Ring a bell?
In The Matrix, the Oracle is an old woman who knows nearly everything. She reminds us of Pythia, who was the Oracle at the Temple of Apollo in Delphi. She represented one of the highest religious authorities in ancient Greece.As a high priestess, she had the ability to both start wars and end them using her prophecies.
Art is one of the greatest mediums for expressing and spreading human ideas. It could be used as a soft weapon to hurt anyone without killing them, and at the same timealso be an instrument that helps us view life through a more fascinating lens.
Feel free to share with us any other Matrix-related theories and easter eggs you may have come across. Also, if you’d like to see more of these breakdowns and theory articles, don’t hesitate to voice your requests!