Reality and Illusion: The Matrix

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Remember: there is no spoon. This cult film of 1999 explores some of the very same questions as Life as a Dream: How can we tell what is real? Do we make our own destinies? Moreover, "The Matrix" uses sleep and dream as metaphors to tell its story. Viewed in this light, Neo is special because he is not only lucid, but he can also control "the dream."

 

Podcast Lecture: The Somniloquy

 

Viewing: "The Matrix" (Only the first film of the trilogy)

 

Questions:

1. In what ways is the world of the Matrix similar to the dream-state? How is it different?

2. What constitutes "reality" for the characters in the film?

3. Consider Thomas Anderson/Neo's transformation during the film: What are the different stages? What does he have to accept and/or abandon in order to fulfill his destiny?

4. "There is no spoon"-- explain the role of this scene and this line. What meaning does it come to have for Neo?

5. Both "The Matrix" and Life is a Dream rely on prophecy as a plot device. What other similarities can you draw between these two dramas--in plot, theme or character? What are the chief differences?

 

Activities:

Film Study-- Presentation of Neo: Rewatch the introductory scene of Neo (chapter 3 on the dvd) and note the various visual and verbal references to sleep and dream. How is Neo presented? What clues about the Matrix does this scene provide?