In Andrew and Larry Wachowski's 1999 film, The Matrix, and Plato's Republic, "On Shadows and Realities, ? reality and illusion are one in the same. The Wachowski brothers allows the viewer to see how reality and illusion can be mistaken for the other, using a number of contrasting ideas found in Plato's analogy of the Cave, showing that at times the dream world can be safer than real life. The matrix is a simulation that creates an imaginary world where people are prisoners from reality, much like Plato's mythological The Cave. The cave holds prisoners inside a dark cave, chained in way prohibiting them from turning their heads, only able to see what is in front of them.
All they see is a wall that displays images of what appears to be of people or animals passing behind them. These reflections or images are all the prisoners know of the world outside the cave. They see only what the marionette players want them to see: projections of objects that are not real but seem real because they have never seen the real world. People in the matrix only see what the machines show, making it difficult to wake up from a continuous dream show, trapped in an illusional world unable to break free.
However, some do break free. Through much effort, Plato's freed man escapes, only to face a life of confusion and fear. With the matrix, most die trying to escape from it, but once free are just as confused as Plato's freed man. His first reaction is to return to the cave, which is familiar and safe to him. The matrix also provides a safe haven to those facing reality, because it is all they have known. In the Matrix, Morpheus, a leader of the movement to save the world from the matrix, talks about human beings being born into bondage.
A bondage where people see and live in an imaginary world, believed to be the real world. Where everything they do, see, and how they react to this imagery, is part of the program. The matrix controlling a person's action and way of thinking, such as in The Cave. Morpheus contacts Neo, a computer hacker, who chosen to assist in destroying the matrix and save humanity. He offers Neo a chance to see reality or return to the world he has known all his life, a world where Neo experienced dreams that never occurred, the matrix? world. To do this, Neo must choose between a red pill, which will show him reality, and a blue pill, which sends him back to the world he has always known.
With this scene, the Wachowski brothers use imagery to portray decisions people must make on a daily basis, choose right from wrong. As Morpheus hands Neo the pills, his reflection off his own sunglasses, is two images, both of Morpheus stretching out his arm, but in one he is holding the red pill, and in the other a blue pill. Before making his decision, Morpheus asks Neo if he has ever had a dream that he thought was real, and if so, how could he really tell the dream from reality. Neo does not answer, but takes the red pill, and sees the world, according to Morpheus. Afterwards, Morpheus asks Neo to define reality and adds, .".. all the information we get from our senses are simply electrical signals that our brain interprets.? Ren?
Descartes, a philosopher born in 1596, wrote a statement in Mediation I, "We cannot trust our senses because, for all we know, we could be asleep and dreaming all of this.? (Descartes) In another scene from the Matrix, Morpheus and Neo just finished sparring. Neo discovers blood on his mouth and doubts if it is real. Morpheus answers, "The mind makes it real.? Descartes comes to the same conclusion when he realizes that many times he has had very realistic dreams, but in the end the most real of things can be just be a product of his mind. Plato demonstrates this same capacity for rhetorical persuasion of reality and illusion in the Cave.
As seen in Edmund Cusick's critic of The Republic: Overview: Having accepted his account of the prisoners who (like the mass of ignorant humanity) see only shadows, mistaking them for reality, we are introduced to a single one who escapes and, after a difficult struggle, reaches the sunlight (true enlightenment). It is only natural that we should identify with that prisoner, and, having become involved with Plato's fable at an imaginative level, it is the harder to reject it at an intellectual one. An internet site was found where readers and moviegoers posted messages on the comparison between The Matrix and Plato's analogy of the cave of reality and illusion. ( . ezboard) Many of those who posted a message agreed with this writer, that The Matrix and Plato's The Cave shows that all that is seen may not be what it seems to be, real or illusionary. At one time or another people experience the matrix or feel as though they are caught up in a cave, trying to escape reality, and searching for that dream. Such as in Guy De Maupassant's The Necklace (1850-1853), the main character, Mathilde, often dreamed of a world much different from her own. Born into a family of clerks, she desired a life of luxuries and riches.
Maupassant wrote, "She had not decent dresses, no jewels, nothing. And she loved nothing but these; she believed herself born only for these.? However, her dream life caused her much suffering in the real life, a suffering that eventually made her less of a dreamer. One must never let go of their dream, unless it is not real.