Analyze the argument expressed by the character Morpheus, for or against the Matrix, in the film of the same name. Does Morpheus argue that the Matrix is beneficial or harmful? What is Morpheus’s claim

In the 1999 film The Matrix, the character of Morpheus offers the strongest argument against the Matrix, which is the system that keeps humanity enslaved. He argues for the benefits on knowing what is really real and then for using that knowledge to bring down the system. He fervently believes that is a better to know a harsh truth rather than live a pleasant lie.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

"The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy."

1999's The Matrix, written and directed by Lana and Lili Wachowski, has entered pop culture in ways few other films have.

The figure of Morpheus, played by Laurence Fishburne, is one of the most often quoted characters from the film, as he is an embodiment of wisdom in the Yoda/Obi-Wan manner. Morpheus, named after the mythological god of sleep, confronts the film's protagonist, Neo (Keanu Reeves) and tells him the truth of what he thinks is reality: it is an illusion created by malicious robots who, in actuality, have enslaved humanity.

Neo is initially skeptical of the information, and Morpheus offers him a choice between the red pill and the blue pill. The red pill (a term which has been appropriated by various right-wing and men's rights groups) will lead to a "waking up" to the reality of the world the robots have constructed.

Morpheus and a few others choose to know reality and are committed to fighting against their overlords, while knowing that many people prefer the comfortable illusion. Morpheus argues that it is always better to know the truth of your surroundings, however difficult it may be. "Welcome to the desert of the real," Morpheus tells Neo, echoing the French philosopher Jean Baudrillard.

I don't think Morpheus sees the Matrix as anything other than harmful to humanity. There are no benefits, unless one considers living an illusion a benefit. The character of Cypher, who betrays the others, does seem to see ignorance as bliss. You also might want to look at Plato's Allegory of the Cave as a way to understanding the film.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team