The matrix, as presented in the eponymous film, operates as an Althusserian Ideological State Apparatus (ISA). The Matrix1 presents a world in which "the state [as] a 'machine' of repression" is made literal where robots rule the land (Althusser 68). It is true that they rule by force (sentinels and agents) and these constitute the Repressive State Apparatus, but their primary force of subjugation is the matrix, their ISA. The film traces the path of one man, Neo, in his painful progress from the ideology of the matrix to the "real world," or the ideology of the "real."2
The matrix, unlike the ideology of the "real," is explicitly defined along Althusserian lines as an ISA. Althusser identifies ISAs as "a certain number of realities which present themselves to the immediate observer" (Althusser 73). Just as the "machine" of the state is taken literally, ideology as "reality" is taken literally. Any discussion of the ISA must include both a brief discussion of the State and Althusser's use of the term "ideology." For him, the State "has no meaning except as a function of State power" and as such, "the State is the repressive State apparatus" (71-72). The State Apparatus (SA) is in turn comprised of the Repressive State Apparatus and the Ideological State Apparatus. The RSA will be discussed in further detail later, but to understand how the matrix serves as an ISA, a brief discussion of ideology is called for.
Althusser defines the ISA as those private institutions that operate by ideology instead of physical repression. Ideology, as a term, has two aspects for Althusser. The first is that "ideology represents the imaginary relationship of individuals to their ...
... middle of paper ...
... amount of time that passed between The Matrix and The Matrix Reloaded.
2 To be concrete about the difference between the matrix and the "real world," I will refer to one as the matrix and the other as the ideology of the "real." The quotes are necessary as the ideology of the "real" is still a fictional ideology. Furthermore, it must be remembered that Althusser saw ideology as inescapable and a necessary feature of society ("there is no practice except by and in an ideology") (Althusser 93). Therefore, referring to the world outside of the matrix as the real world is insufficient and inaccurate. The ideology of the "real" (as Morpheus says, "welcome to the real") serves to enforce the notion of Neo not as rejecting ideology in favor of reality, but rather moving from the ideology of the machines (the matrix) to that of Morpheus (the ideology of the "real").
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The Characters in The Matrix The Matrix (Wachowski & Wachowski 1999) is a battery powering an unending chatter of thought, images, productions, and discourse. In the film, a stabbing needle penetrates the black plug mounted on the back of a human skull, and the mind is overwhelmed by the matrix, an extensive simulacral world that, to its unknowing inhabitants, is in every way the same as reality, and to those merely passing through, is a sinister, green-tinted prison. The film sets, by dialogue and symbolism, a place for analysis, theology, theory, philosophy, and criticism that accommodates any stance within a language of freedom, choice, perception, reality, simulation, mind, computer cod... [tags: The Matrix Science Fiction Movies Film Essays]
3890 words (11.1 pages)
- The Matrix was set in both the present and futuristic time period. The Matrix is an alternate reality where everyone views the world the same except for a few. Neo, the main character of the story, finds himself speaking to Morpheus who asks him to take a red or blue pill. The two pills allow a person to see which reality they want to see. The red pill shows the real world which is in futuristic times where machines control the world, the blue pill allows us to live in the blissful ignorance we live in today.... [tags: Morpheus, The Matrix, Virtual reality]
709 words (2 pages)
- George Orwell, 20th century award winning novelist of 1984 wrote, “ He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.” This quote was meant as a warning against totalitarian rule. Within the book 1984, the panoptic gaze instills a sense of fear within the people as even their language is altered to aid the Party in their mission to dominate society. The Matrix applies a much more literal reality of a panopticon, and the surveillance of humans goes deeper than just monitoring and swaying behavior, as their actions are all controlled and premeditated.... [tags: Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell, The Matrix]
1890 words (5.4 pages)
- The Wachowski brothers wrote and directed the movie The Matrix. These brothers write about a very complex world that is unparalleled to anything our minds can grasp through mere thought. That is the purpose of the characters portrayed throughout the movie. Thomas Anderson, Neo, is a very distraught man. He knows there is something more to the world he senses, but he cannot quite get there without the help of others that once struggled this same battle his is internally struggling. That is where two of our other characters come into play, Morpheus and Trinity.... [tags: The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded]
1121 words (3.2 pages)
- Depersonalization, the feeling that you are always trapped in a dream, one may think that they have a full grip on “reality”: but how do you decipher between reality and a forged reality. The matrix is a captivating Sifi that seems to break the boundaries of what we as humans see today. In the movie Thomas Anderson or as he is known in the computer world Neo finds himself to be perplexed unable to depict the difference between his dream world and so called reality. This all changes when he is contacted by an unknown user via his computer.... [tags: Morpheus, The Matrix, Redpill, The Matrix Reloaded]
1247 words (3.6 pages)
- Movie The Matrix In 2002, Brent Staples communicated with Jean Baudrillard about the use of his philosophy in The Matrix (1999), a film written and directed by Andy and Larry Wachowski. Staples wrote, “He [Baudrillard] noted that the film’s “borrowings” from his work “stemmed mostly from misunderstandings” and suggested that no movie could ever do justice to the themes of this book”. In this paper, I will argue that the Wachowski Brothers did not want to “do justice to the themes of this book”; they wanted to adapt Baudrillard’s theories about the blurring of the real and unreal, and the eventual extermination of the real, into a story that provides hope for humans wanting to escape the su... [tags: Movie Film Matrix Films Essays]
2572 words (7.3 pages)
- The Matrix The Matrix is a science fiction movie about artificial intelligence computers replacing mankind. I believe that this movie is a common type of display from the media is common paranoia so that they can get a reaction from people and sell their story. In the case of The Matrix, the movie dazzles people with awesome special effects using modern computer technology, which I find ironic. I find it self-conflicting and hypocritical for the media to use modern computer technology for their own good to show people how bad technology is.... [tags: Argumentative Movie Film Matrix Essays]
1061 words (3 pages)
- Movie the Matrix and Octavia Butler's Dawn When I first announced to my parents that I was going to marry my current wife, the first words out of my father’s mouth were, “But she’s from another culture.” My father and mother, although being generally good people, are the products of an older system of beliefs. It is the matrix I was raised with, and that dictated my earlier learning experience. Fortunately for me, I chose to risk alienating my parents, and told them that if they ever mentioned “different cultures” to me again, it would be the last time we would be on speaking terms.... [tags: Matrix Butler Dawn Essays]
1552 words (4.4 pages)
- The Cave and the Matrix Movie critics and philosophers alike agree that the movie “The Matrix” is indeed based upon certain Platonic themes from Book VII of The Republic. In this story entitled "The Allegory of the Cave," he describes a dark underground cave where a group of people are sitting in one long row with their backs to the cave's entrance. Chained to their chairs from an early age, all the humans can see is the distant cave wall in from of them. The shadows of statues held by unseen ‘puppet handlers’ reflect on the walls from the light of a fire that is also out of sight of those in the cave.... [tags: Plato Republic Matrix Movie Philosophy Essays]
991 words (2.8 pages)
- The Matrix Interweaves much symbolism, mythology, philosophy, and psychology. On the surface, the movie challenges the dominance of technology in our culture and predicts an apocalyptic result from the use of artificial intelligence. Yet, behind the human struggle for survival is a mythical backdrop upon which are backlit some of C.G. Jung's basic ideas regarding the human psyche. These Jungian ideas include the ego-Self relationship and how it relates to the persona, the shadow, individuation, and the transcendent function.... [tags: movie film]
2835 words (8.1 pages)
- Comparing Sexuality in Grey's Riders of the Purple Sage and Doctorow's Welcome to Hard Times
- Division of Labor According to Gender in Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own
- The Reality of War in John Knowles' A Separate Peace
- The Demise of a Family in Gail Godwin's A Sorrowful Woman
- Life Behind the Veil in Du Bois' The Souls of Black Folk
- Quest for Knowledge in Milton’s Paradise Lost - How Much can Humans Know?