The Matrix 101
Q: Morpheus doesn’t seem himself in Revolutions – he’s just not kicking butt with the confidence of the previous movies. What’s happened?
A: Morpheus has just learned from Neo that the prophecy is a lie. It’s another system of control engineered by the machines. While he’s likely not completely convinced of this yet, the simple fact is that this man has based his entire existence on finding the “One of Prophecy” to stop the war and free his people. Now, today, he’s been told his life’s work is a sham. This has a debilitating effect on Morpheus. He cannot lead any longer because he doesn’t know where to go next. It’s up to Neo, and Morpheus still believes in Neo, so he does what he has to do to support Neo. If that means co-piloting the Hammer with Niobe, he’ll do it. If it means being the first human to lay down his weapon when faced with hesitating Sentinels after the battle of Zion, he’ll do it. His role is not diminished, nor is his importance, but the path he’s following has changed. We learn the prophecy is a lie from The Architect’s conversation
Oracle: Morpheus, Trinity. Thank you for coming. One thing I’ve learned in all my years is that nothing ever works out just the way you want it to.
Trinity: Who are you?
Oracle: I’m the Oracle. I wish there was an easy way to get through this, but there ain’t. I’m sorry this had to happen. I’m sorry I couldn’t be sitting here, like you remember me. But, it wasn’t meant to be.
Trinity: What happened?
Oracle: I made a choice and that choice cost me more than I wanted it to.
Morpheus: What choice?
Oracle: To help you, to guide Neo. Now, since the real test for any choice is how we make the same choice again, knowing full well what it might cost, I guess I feel pretty good about that choice, `cause here I am, at it again.
Trinity: Do you know what happened to Neo?
Oracle: Yes. He is trapped in a place between this world and the machine world. The link is controlled by a program called the Trainman. He uses it to smuggle programs in and out of the Matrix. If he finds out where Neo is before you get to him, then I’m afraid our choices are going to become difficult.
Oracle: Because of who the Trainman works for.
Morpheus: The Merovingian.
Oracle: He has placed a bounty on your lives. You must be careful at all times. Seraph knows how to find the Trainman. He’ll go with you. For years he has protected me. I hope he can do the same for you.
Seraph: Please, follow me.
Oracle: I know, Morpheus. I can see you are filled with doubt, clouded by uncertainty.
Morpheus: After everything that has happened, how can you expect me to believe you?
Oracle: I don’t. I’ve expected what I always expected: for you to make up your own damn mind. Believe me or don’t. All I can do is tell you that your friend is in trouble and he needs your help. He needs all our help.
Q: Why does Smith laugh maniacally after taking over The Oracle?
A: The Oracle is not an oracle. She cannot see the future. This is not a world of magic. She is a well crafted program indeed, and has experienced each cycle form the beginning which gives us the illusion that she can foresee stuff…. so, whatever it is Smith sees is another step in her manipulation, which again fuels why she decided to be absorbed by him – the only way to keep playing her game. Smith laughs as she gives him an immense sense of confidence (although false); crucial for the last chapter to be a success.
The Oracle’s Gamble
The Oracle, she’s crafty. All along we thought she was baking cookies and handing candy to strangers, but it turns out she’s a player. She played Neo, Trinity, and Morpheus. She played The Merovingian, and she totally played The Architect. If he had a real head, it would still be spinning from the moves she made.
The Oracle, described by The Architect as “an intuitive program, initially created to investigate certain aspects of the human psyche”, has been around since the beginning. She’s experienced the 5 previous iterations of the Matrix, and has guided The Ones along the path in each iteration. But over time, her purpose has changed: she’s learned more about the human psyche than any other machine or program. She’s seen them struggle, fight, fall, get back up, and keep going. She’s seen them live, love, and die. She’s seen Ones follow the path. She’s seen others put their faith in The One and do everything necessary to assist him or her. In short, she’s seen it all. And she’s learned.
As each iteration of the Matrix played itself out, The Oracle has learned a bit more about the human psyche, a bit more about what makes humans tick. Couple this knowledge with a weariness of the unending war, and a desire to see humanity on equal footing with the machines again, and you’ve got a whole new purpose for the Oracle, and the makings of an interesting game.
With Neo and iteration 6 of The Matrix, The Oracle finally has the perfect candidate to accomplish something she’s been trying to achieve for quite a while: the end of the war. For as the Architect balances the equations of the Matrix, The Oracle unbalances them. Every bit of information she gives to Morpheus, Trinity, or Neo in the first movie is a carefully worded push in the right direction, to ensure events play themselves out as she wishes.
Neo’s not the One? Hey, no pressure; he’s just a member of the team there to help. That’ll ensure he follows a path of heroism and self-sacrifice essential to the success of her plan, and doesn’t get overwhelmed by having the weight of the world on his hacker shoulders. Trinity will fall in love with The One? That’s to ensure that The One’s connection to humanity is specific – a powerful connection to one person, thus ensuring Neo makes the right choice in The Architect’s chamber. In the end of The Matrix, Neo can’t be dead because Trinity loves him, therefore he’s The One, and the connection’s established, if not strengthened.
In Reloaded, Seraph’s statement “I protect that which matters most” is telling. Doesn’t The One matter most? Not really – The One is a pawn in the game The Oracle is playing. He’s the most critical pawn, to be sure, but a pawn nonetheless. The stakes are incredibly high in this game, and The Oracle matters more than anything, because without her the humans have no chance to break the cycle and end the war. And she sees a unique opportunity in Agent Smith’s ascension: here’s a way to unbalance the equation this time around. Here’s a way to ensure a different outcome than the five previous times. Thank you, Smith!
So she uses Seraph to protect her until the critical moment, and she continues to feed Neo just enough information to make sure he does what she needs him to do. In the park, she gives him the nudge that he’s already made a decision about Trinity’s fate – if he has, it sure isn’t death. It has to be life, and it follows from love.
Back in her kitchen in Revolutions, knowing that Smith is close, she makes sure Neo understands that Smith is the target now, not the machines. Neo’s role is not to fight the war, it’s to fight Smith, but why? Because everything that has a beginning has an end. You, me, Smith, this war, the machine’s enslavement; all these things can and will come to an end. And sacrifices are necessary to achieve the end. After Neo leaves to reflect on her guidance, The Oracle sacrifices herself to Smith, hoping Neo has gotten the message, and knowing that if he fails, this is her end. She plays Smith by providing him her sight, which leads to overconfidence when he sees the end coming.
As The Oracle hoped, Neo goes to the machine city to broker peace, and ends up facing off against Smith. After a lengthy battle, The Oracle has one final move to make: Smith repeats her quote about everything having an end, giving Neo the final push he needs. He accepts his end, which unbalances the equation and gives control of a purposeless Smith to the machines. As Smith himself said “without purpose we would not exist”. Now that he’s destroyed Neo, his only purpose in coming back, Smith is left with nothing. And with Neo dead (and the equation unbalanced again, thanks to the Oracle), The Architect re-balances the equation by deleting Smith.
In the final scene The Architect acknowledges that he’s been played, telling The Oracle that it was a dangerous game she’d been playing. The Oracle’s long, risky gamble has finally paid off, and she’s led the way to the first peaceful co-existence between man and machine since man first created machines, so long ago.
Tagged: America, Gods, Matrix, Mind, Movies, Neo, Oracle, Oracle's Gambit