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Ignorance in Dystopian Texts: The Matrix, Allegory of The Cave, and 1984

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Ignorance is bliss. A statement which is true, yet people like to believe that it’s false. The majority of people live their lives in comfort, enjoying little luxuries, so when a moment comes where they could ruin their comfort, they will most likely construct a decision that won’t affect their lives. However, the few that do often regret their choice as they realize how they had taken their lives for granted. People today live in ignorance, they ignore what’s happened in the world, what’s going to happen, and even what’s happening right now. Dystopian texts often show people how our world can turn out and how we can be affected by the future. In The Matrix, it’s shown that people live in their own world where which seems perfectly normal to them, however in reality they are being controlled by robots. In 1984, citizens live knowing that they are being watched constantly, knowing that their ruler is wrong, but they choose to ignore what’s going on around them. In an Allegory of the Cave, a prisoner is able to escape from a cave where he and 2 others had been kept for their entire lives, and when he tells the others about the world outside they don’t believe him and stick to their ordinary lives. In all 3 dystopian texts, it’s clear that everyone believes ignorance is bliss, as all texts share similarities with not only their themes but the basics of their stories.

In the dystopian texts, The Matrix, Allegory of the Cave, and 1984, it’s clear that the message of ignorance is bliss is trying to be shown to the readers. Starting with The Matrix, the most obvious symbol representing ignorance is bliss would be through Cypher’s eyes. Cyphers is a main character in the movie The Matrix who is part of Morpheus’s crew, which means he knows about the Matrix is a lie. Yet he decides to help the antagonist agents just to glide back into the Matrix and to fake life. In fact, in the movie, he even states that “Ignorance is bliss”. In that scene, Cypher is eating a steak with the agents as he states that he knows that “the steak is fake and it’s just his brain making him think its real” but he just doesn’t care, he can taste it and it feels wonderful which is all that matters to him. It’s comfortable and easy, so he decides to betray his friends and return to a world made up of lies. An Allegory of the cave, ignorance is bliss can be symbolized through the prisoner’s reaction to their friend’s stories. The allegory is about how three prisoners have been kept in a cave for their entire lives and are able to detect nothing but shadows. One day one of these prisoners escapes and is able to travel into the world, he was amazed by everything he saw. He goes back into the cave to tell his friends about what he saw, but his friends call him insane and don’t believe him. This proves how the prisoners knew they could be set free and perceive the real world, but they didn’t take the risk since they have lived their entire lives a certain way, they don’t want to change everything and explore a brand new world, so they refuse to believe it’s true and refuse the help of their friend. The final dystopian text was 1984, it’s exceptionally obvious that ignorance is bliss is something that characterizes Winston and is why the novel’s plot developed and ended the way it did. The novel is about England being ruled by a powerful by Big Brother. In this world, everything that everyone does is documented by telescreens nothing is hidden. Winston, the protagonist, has always been against Big Brother, the antagonist, as he doesn’t agree with his leadership but part of him wants to obey Big Brother since it’s a struggle to live in hiding for his entire life. This is why at the mere end of the novel when he is brainwashed he is happy he is changed to obey as “the struggle was finished, he had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother” and he was happy to, see as it’s comfortable to live in unity. All of these texts show us that ignorance is bliss, however, the texts also share other similarities.

All of the dystopian texts share themes. One of the biggest themes that are in 1984 would be how people are obedient and ignorant. This theme also symbolizes ignorance as bliss since it talks about how people ignore the most obvious things. In 1984 people always obey Big Brother which causes everyone to ignore their surroundings, in the novel people don’t even know “what exact year it is”. This symbol shows readers how people are not concerned about their basic knowledge being taken away from them. Applying this theme to Allegory of the Cave, it’s shown that the prisoners that just learned about the new world refused to believe it and kept calling their friend “crazy and delusional” since they decided to ignore the fact that they could be wrong. They have all lived a specific way their entire lives and they didn’t want to change it despite another person’s observations. Finally, in The Matrix, everyone in the fake world constantly noticed things that would happen around them such as glitches or other unexplainable things, such as when Neo, the protagonist, sees a cat and explains that he experienced “déjà vu’”. But people continue to live in ignorance as not only is ignorance bliss, but it’s also how people look at events, they ignore serious topics when they should be concerned. These three dystopian texts all are practically built on the same meanings and messages, they just have different ways of expressing their points.

In conclusion, there are important themes that can be found in all stories, they are all dystopian texts. No matter what differences there are in the details of each story, whether the characters are prisoners in caves, prisoners in digital worlds, or even prisoned by technology, they will share themes and concepts since they are all trying to show a possible future. In all texts, they indicate that ignorance is bliss as society has grown to prove it is. In 1984, Winston is able to finally become happy, just because he can live in ignorance and have a simple life. In The Matrix, Cypher decides to kill his friends to be able to live in ignorance once again. In an Allegory of the Cave, the remaining prisoners call their friend delusional and refuse to believe him as they don’t want to change their lives. All of the texts clearly show that not only in their stories is this true, but it’s true everywhere. When someone receives the truth, they are handed responsibility and the duty to keep fighting to save themselves and others, which is why people don’t appreciate change. This is how in real life, dystopian text life, or even their themes show us that ignorance, truly is bliss.

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Ignorance in Dystopian Texts: The Matrix, Allegory of the Cave, and 1984. (2022, May 24). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 29, 2022, from
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