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Interpretation of The Allegory of Plato's Cave in Matrix

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What is real?

It is not the world we live in to be bogus and to keep hidden the real reality from us but is the perception of human beings about reality to keep them away from the real truth.

When mankind realizes that there is something beyond appearances and tries an approach to a different world, different from the world he has lived until then inevitably he matures a new awareness; like awakening from a deep sleep, he has the desire for knowledge and discovery. It is therefore impossible to reach the truth without undertaking this inner transformation.

For the same reason, every man who does not perceive the true reality is skeptical about the testimonies of those who seek it: the truth is an inner, individual discovery, which each one must make by his means. No one will be able to persuade a man of deprive him from this experience.

One of the movies that had a strong impact on the way of producing films is Matrix written and produced by Andy and Lana Wachowski. Released in 1999 this masterpiece has revolutionized not only for the spectacular performance of the actors but also for its philosophical exposure and interpretation.

Matrix largely interprets Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. Imagine a cave and inside are people who were born and have spent their entire lives there, chained into a fixed position, only able to see the wall in front of them. As far as they know, this is the entire world.’ The Wachowskis ask the same question Plato does: ‘How do we know what our reality really is?’.

Perception of Reality

Neo, the protagonist, has for some time been haunted by questions that he cannot give answers that satisfy him. It is as if, inside himself, warns that in every atom of reality that surrounds it there is something that does not fit.

“He was then contacted by Morpheus, a notorious ‘virtual pirate’ wanted by the by “Agents”, who appear to be Federal investigators but are sentient computer programs that patrol the Matrix, eliminating any threat to the Matrix”.

Morpheus is convinced that Neo is different from any other man and that he is an extraordinary human being, destined to save the whole of humanity from all the tragedy that afflicts it. What is the Tragedy about? Morpheus has contact with Neo because he is convinced and he believes Neo is the One. He tells Neo while he’s still part of the Matrix that he’s only alive because “they” don’t know what he knows. The whole human race is subjugated to the machines, which once upon a time were under the control of Mankind; but after the rebellion of the machines, the roles have been reversed. Machines exploit men to survive and keep them chained, using their energy. 

Within our perceptions, the world that we see every day is real to our eyes but within reality, it is a sham, it does not exist. There are just those virtual images sent to our brains by machines that keep us enslaved.  The machines, houses, and roads that are surrounding us are nothing more than virtual images sent to our brains to be dominated by the machines. The entire world is a program (Matrix), a deception engineered by artificial intelligence that controls us. As much as Neo had the perception that there was something wrong in the” world” he was living, he could not believe it at first.

What gift, free from what, what truth, and how; there are the first questions Neo asks to Morpheus and the answer is simple but difficult to believe. Morpheus explains to the “One”: “As children, we do not separate the possible from the impossible which is why the younger a mind the easier it is to free while a mind like yours can be very difficult; it’s that feeling you have had all your life. That feeling that something was wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad, driving you to me. But what is it?

The Matrix is everywhere, it’s all around us, here even in this room. You can see it out your window, or on your television. You feel it when you go to work, church, and pay your taxes.  It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.

‘You are a slave, Neo, like everyone else, was born into bondage and kept inside a prison where you cannot smell, taste, or touch.  A prison for your mind”.

Neo is initially uncertain about everything but finally collaborates with Morpheus and returns to the ‘real world’ to fight against machines and free humanity from chains.  Morpheus induces Neo to take a tablet, with a formidable effect: Neo frees himself from the chains from which he was part of and ends his life as a slave, he opens his eyes for the first time. What he had seen before then was nothing more than virtual images perceived by his intellect and not by his eyes:” Neo asks Morpheus Why does his eyes hurt and the answer is that he has never used them before”. Neo accepts the new condition and together with other free people like who were blind like him, he fights to bring back freedom to the whole human race but it is not an easy process. To defeat the machine, they have to re-enter the Matrix and destroy the evil virtual program.

At the end of the movie, Neo and Morpheus succeeded in the mission and mankind is finally free. The Matrix is characterized by philosophical conceptions. The film is all about the opposition between the real world and the fictitious world, mistaken for the true world. The opposition between truth and lies, between truth and appearance, is a dualism in all Western philosophy up to Nietzsche. 

Matrix is considered a representation of Plato’s and political thought, the Greek philosopher had already distinguished the true world (the world of ideas) and the fictitious world (the sensitive world in which we live). 

The Matrix represents nothing else of Plato’s cave. Inside the cave, slaves are chained to a rock and forced to look towards the bottom of the cave. Outside the cave stands a wall, behind which hidden men walk, carrying statues on their shoulders. Behind these men burns a fire that casts the shadows of the statues on the bottom of the cave; the enslaved men, unable to turn their backs, exchange the shadows that appear on the wall of the cave for the true reality. 

If a slave could escape, says Plato, he would initially be blinded by the light of day, but then he would finally be able to see the truth, of which the shadows are only a copy of reality. If he then wanted to go back to the cave to reveal the truth to the other slaves, he would not be believed and indeed would be killed.

Neo represents the philosopher-man who gets out of the cave (Matrix) and finally sees real reality. At first, his blinded by the light but once he recognized the truth, he returns into the cave, in the Matrix, to free the other slaves. The truth, however, is scary and not all men have the courage and the interest to accept it.

The main similarity between Plato’s Cave is the “acceptance of the 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”.


The allegory of the cave it is in today’s society is a “warning against Political and Ideology bigotry”. Plato predicted that in a” democracy a tyrant offers himself as the people’s champion. He’s the ultimate simplifier, the one man who can make everything whole again” creating a false reality in which people choose to believe. 

“With Trump, we have a glimpse of what this sort of evolution looks like: A right-wing populism emerges out of a whirlwind of anti-establishment hysteria; a strongman promises to stick it to the elites and says only he can make the country great again”.

We are a mass society which is easily manipulated because we chose to believe those who display us a false reality by lying and manipulating us. Politicians often take advantage of people’s blindness simply represents the ignorance that is characterized in today’s society. When you try to convince the people who are slaves to the fake reality most of them refuse to believe you but they become aggressive and refuse to wake up.

In Matrix, Neo after a long process decides and chooses to believe he was living in a dream, and at the end, he fights to free the entire world and he succeeds. But unfortunately, the happy ending is just in a movie, human beings are stubborn, they are driven by strong emotions which are easily manipulated by evil people.

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Interpretation Of The Allegory Of Plato’s Cave In Matrix. (2022, April 29). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 18, 2022, from
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