Starring Laurence Fishburne as

Morpheus

in The Matrix

The Matrix What is The Matrix? The movie explores the nature of reality, in a distant dystopic future in which man's mechanical creations have been become unmanageably powerful and rebelled against their creators. It follows the path of one man's quest for the 'truth'.
Neo Keanu Reeves as Neo in The Matrix: "I don't like the idea that I'm not in control of my life." Morpheus Laurence Fishburne as Morpheus in The Matrix: What you know you can't explain, but you feel it. You've felt it your entire life, that there's something wrong with the world. You don't know what it is, but it's there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. Agent Smith Hugo Weaving as Agent Smith in The Matrix: "I hate this place. This zoo. This prison. This reality, whatever you want to call it, I can't stand it any longer. It's the smell, if there is such a thing. I feel saturated by it. I can taste your stink and every time I do, I fear that I've somehow been infected by it."
Movie
The Matrix
Year
1999
Character
Morpheus
Actor
Laurence Fishburne

Morpheus lives outside of the matrix, in his craft the ‘Nebuchadnezzar’ along with a motley crew of other survivors and outsiders. He believes that the stranglehold of slavery over mankind, and the matrix itself, can be broken… if only he can find ‘The One’.

His character is used to temp the audience with various philosophical concepts from the Wachowski Brothers’ ideological background.

The Matrix – MorpheusQuotes

Here Morpheus describes the history that led up to the construction of the Matrix. This little quote also seeds the (popular) conception that the flaws of mankind are ultimately to blame as a whole for the ills that beset the earth:

Morpheus: We don’t know who struck first, us or them. But we do know it was us that scorched the sky. At the time, they were dependent on solar power. It was believed they would be unable to survive without an energy source as abundant as the sun.

Morpheus, this time on the nature of reality vs perceptions:

Morpheus: If real is what you can feel, smell, taste and see, then ‘real’ is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.

Morpheus: Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream, Neo? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?

Morpheus: I imagine that right now, you’re feeling a bit like Alice. Hmm? Tumbling down the rabbit hole?

Neo: You could say that.

Morpheus: I see it in your eyes. You have the look of a man who accepts what he sees because he is expecting to wake up. Ironically, that’s not far from the truth. Do you believe in fate, Neo?

Neo: No.

Morpheus: Why not?

Neo: Because I don’t like the idea that I’m not in control of my life.

Morpheus: I know *exactly* what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is, but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I’m talking about?

Neo: The Matrix.

Morpheus: Do you want to know what it is?

Neo: Yes.

Morpheus: The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work… when you go to church… when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.

Neo: What truth?

Morpheus: That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else you were born into bondage. Into a prison that you cannot taste or see or touch. A prison for your mind.

Morpheus lets slip a subtle hint of ‘thought reform’ us-or-them absolutism, in the vein of Bush’s “You’re either with us or you’re against us”:

Morpheus: The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you’re inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.

[Neo's eyes suddenly wander towards a woman in a red dress]

Morpheus: Were you listening to me, Neo? Or were you looking at the woman in the red dress?

Neo: I was…

Morpheus: [gestures with one hand] Look again.

[the woman in the red dress is now Agent Smith, pointing a gun at Neo's head; Neo ducks]

Morpheus: Freeze it.

[Everybody and everything besides Neo and Morpheus freezes in time]

Neo: This… this isn’t the Matrix?

Morpheus: No. It is another training program designed to teach you one thing: if you are not one of us, you are one of them.

It’s all or nothing time for Neo:

Morpheus: This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.

Morpheus exposes mankind’s fate, the predicament of their position in the food chain, in line with certain vogue new age teachings (such as Castaneda):

Morpheus: What is the Matrix? Control. The Matrix is a computer-generated dream world built to keep us under control in order to change a human being into this.

[holds up a Duracell battery]

Neo: No, I don’t believe it. It’s not possible.
Morpheus: I didn’t say it would be easy, Neo. I just said it would be the truth.

Morpheus’ slightly ambiguous stance on anarchism: that even though Neo is not to be bound by the rules, he is bound by his role as ‘the one’ for the job.

Morpheus: We’ve survived by hiding from them, by running from them. But they are the gatekeepers. They are guarding all the doors, they are holding all the keys. Which means that sooner or later, someone is going to have to fight them.

Neo: Someone?

Morpheus: I’ve seen an agent punch through a concrete wall; men have emptied entire clips at them and hit nothing but air; yet, their strength, and their speed, are still based in a world that is built on rules. Because of that, they will never be as strong, or as fast, as *you* can be.


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