Neo (Matrix character)

From Academic Kids

Neo is the name of the central fictional character from the movie The Matrix and its sequels The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions. He is sometimes referred to as The One and has powers beyond the Machines that created the Matrix. In all three movies he is played by Keanu Reeves.

Missing image
Keanu Reeves as Neo in The Matrix

Thomas A. Anderson, who later prefers to go by his hacker alias "Neo", is invited to enter the "real world", where he finds himself as the "chosen one" to save humankind from the empire of intelligent machines in what is believed to be the year 2199 (approximately). The Matrix is an illusory construct based on the world during the late 20th century (similar to Plato's allegory of the cave) developed by the machines to keep the human population docile and under control. Some humans break free and the "Rebels" free them. This is necessary because rebels believe that humans are used by the machines as their primary energy source, after humanity blocked out the Sun by contaminating the atmosphere.

The character's names are viewed by many to have intentional plot-related meanings; Neo- is a Greek prefix meaning new, and Neo is also an anagram of one and eon. The coming of "The One" marks the end of an eon in the Matrix. The name Anderson literally means "son of man", the preferred self-title of Jesus (the Messiah in Christianity). The name Thomas can be viewed as a reference to Thomas, a disciple of Jesus, who was famous for his doubting. Also, "Thomas" literally means "two", and he is indeed living a double life as Mr. Anderson/Neo.

Religion is heavily referenced throughout the films, not only in names but also in dialog (the first character to address Neo in the films calls him "my saviour . . . my own personal Jesus Christ") and in fleeting background images (the Nebuchadnezzar's nameplate contains a reference to Mark 3:11 - Whenever the evil spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, "You are the Son of God.")


Neo awakens

Neo starts off The Matrix Trilogy (plugged into the giant computer simulation known as The Matrix) as Thomas Anderson, described by his nemesis Agent Smith as a programmer for a respectable software company. He pays his taxes and helps his landlady carry out her garbage. However, he also has another life, a life lived in computers. He is a hacker and goes by the alias Neo and is guilty of virtually every computer crime for which there is a law. Morpheus, captain of the Nebuchadnezzar (a flying ship in The Real World), believes Neo is The One, a person with fantastic powers while in the Matrix, who will end the war between man and Machine.

Neo's adventures begin shortly after he is rescued from the Matrix power-plant, where humans lie asleep, living out their lives within their own minds connected in the Matrix. Their bodies generate power for the Machines. Morpheus takes Neo to the Oracle, who appears to be a 50-year old Black woman and has the power of foresight. She reviews Neo and tells him that he has the "gift", but appeared to be waiting for something—"Your next life, maybe." Neo infers incorrectly that the Oracle has said that he is not the One. The Oracle warns him that an event will come where he will have to choose between his own life or that of Morpheus, and that one of them will die.

The crew of the Nebuchanezzar are betrayed by one of their own, Cypher, to the Matrix Agents, guardians that appear as government FBI-style agents that eliminate anyone in the Matrix that knows of its true nature. Cypher's mind returns to his body at his ship and kills all except Neo and Trinity before being killed himself by Tank, the ship's Operator, who provides support to jacked-in crew inside the Matrix. Morpheus has been captured by Agents and is being tortured for the location of Zion, the last human city. Neo and Trinity successfully rescue Morpheus, but Neo is trapped and must fight off several Agents. One agent, Smith, kills Neo by gunshot, but after a loving kiss from Trinity in the real world, Neo's mind realizes that the Matrix is an illusion and as a result, his death is an illusion. He rises as if ressurrected and has manifested into The One. After stopping bullets in mid-air that were fired by the Agents, he effortlessly fends off Agent Smith before destroying him from within.

In "The Meaning of the Buddha's Awakening" (Thanissaro Bhikkhu,1997), the two crucial aspects of the Buddha's Awakening, much like Neo's, are the what and the how: what he awakened to and how he did it. Neo's (as was Buddha's) awakening is special in that the two aspects come together. He awakened to the fact that there is an undying happiness, (for Neo: the battle of The Machines vs. Zion) and that it can be attained through human effort. The human effort involved in this process ultimately focuses on the question of understanding the nature of human effort itself in terms of skillful kamma (i.e., the up-loading of Neo's skills) and dependent co-arising or the true understanding of his powers and what his limitations are, and what kind of right effort (i.e., the Noble Path) can take one beyond its limitations and bring one to the threshold of the Deathless (the Machine World). The quality of Neo's views and his intentions determines the experienced result of his actions.

The battle continues

Approximately six months go by between the events of "The Matrix" and the second film, "The Matrix Reloaded." Neo is now fully manifested and confident as The One. He can fly, has fantastic speed and strength, has no match in any fight, and can withstand dramatic damage.

Neo seeks more advice from the Oracle, unsure of his purpose, while Zion prepares for a massive attack from the Machines of over 250,000 Sentinels, killing machines that guard the Machine world. After he receives information from the Oracle on finding the Keymaker, who can lead Neo to the Source and presumably stop the war, Neo discovers that Agent Smith is no longer an Agent and somehow can infect other Matrix inhabitants to make clones of himself. Neo barely fends off an army of over 100 Smith clones before escaping to search for the Keymaker with Morpheus and Trinity. The Merovingian held the Keymaker, a program that can access many hidden areas in the Matrix, as prisoner before Morpheus, Trinity and Neo help him escape. The Keymaker tells the Nebuchanezzar crew and two other Zion hovercraft crews that to reach the Source, the Machine's mainframe computer that runs the Matrix, two power stations elsewhere in the Matrix must be disabled in a short time window to allow Neo to open a door in a special building that can reach the Source. This task is accomplished, but not without the Keymaker being killed, the hovercraft Vigilant's destruction, and Trinity in mortal jeopardy by Agents in the Matrix—a vision that Neo saw earlier in the movie.

Neo learns from the The Architect, the creator of the Matrix, that he is actually the sixth "One". Zion has been destroyed by the machines five times before, and Neo's five predecessors have helped reload, or restart the Matrix to bring its Choice-based programming (added to the Matrix by the Oracle herself) to stability again, before being allowed to rebuild Zion with a handful of freed humans. The Architect warns of the annihilation of all human life in and out of the Matrix if he did not enter the Source door to reload the Matrix, but unlike his predecessors, however, Neo does not enter the door to the Source and chooses to save Trinity, his love, from certain death. Morpheus is gravely stricken when Neo tells him that the Prophecy that foretells of the end of the Matrix was a lie. A sudden Sentinel attack destroys the Nebuchadnezzar, but not before the crew flees. Neo, while in the real world, can feel the attacking Sentinel's presence and commands them to self-destruct before falling unconscious. He and the crew are rescued by the hovercraft Hammer, who are dealing with a mystery of their own: Bane, a crewmember from another ship, was the only survivor of an ill-fated attack by the Zion hovercraft fleet. Unbeknownst to anyone, the body of Bane is actually inhabited by a Smith clone's consciousness and threatens to destroy Neo in the real world.

The messiah fulfills his purpose

The Matrix Revolutions picks up immediately after the events of the second movie. As a result of his stopping five Sentinels just by thinking it in the real world, Neo's mind has been dropped in the Train Station, a virtual world neither in the Matrix or real world. Controlled by the Merovingian, the powerless Neo (whose abilities work mostly in the Matrix alone) is trapped until Trinity frees him after creating a Mexican standoff during a fight with the Merovingian.

Neo determines, through his new foresight abilities and after a final visit with the Oracle, that it is not the Sentinels that he should worry about, but Smith, whose clones are multiplying and will bring about a fatal crash of the Matrix, killing all humans and programs inside it, as well as severely reducing the power needed for the Machine City to survive. "Everything that has a beginning has an end, Neo," tells the Oracle.

Neo and Trinity are given the Logos, a hovercraft commanded by Morpheus's former love, Niobe, in a suicidal journey to the Machine City, while the Hammer, with Captain Roland, his crew, and the surviving Nebuchanezzar crew of Link and Morpheus, attempt to return to Zion, now besieged and losing in the Machine's attack. Neo and Trinity are ambushed by a stowaway Bane/Smith, who blinds Neo, but is killed when Neo discovers he can see Smith's aura with a mysterious third-sight granted by his powers. Neo, using his limited real-world powers, and with Trinity as pilot, guide the Logos past the Machine City's defenses, but in the effort the Logos crashes, and Trinity sustains fatal injuries onboard.

Neo encounters the Deus Ex Machina, a Machine construct, and barters for peace between Man and Machine if he can stop Smith, who has turned all Matrix inhabitants into clones of himself and threatens not only a Matrix system crash, but an invasion of Smith's infectious code into the Machine City itself. One Smith, who has absorbed the powers of the Oracle, fights Neo in the Matrix and appears to have the same, if greater powers than Neo himself. This cataclysmic fight leaves Neo near exhaustion and Smith apparently victorious until Neo realizes that fighting would not win this battle. Having nothing left to lose personally (with Trinity's death) and everything to gain for humanity and Machine, Neo intentionally sacrifices himself to Smith and allows him to become a Smith clone. Because Smith/Neo is directly connected to the Machine world, the Deus Ex Machina sends a deletion command, destroying Smith/Neo and all other Smith clones in the Matrix. This process apparently kills Neo's consciousness as well. Neo's body is taken away reverently by the Machines in the Machine City, while, below in Zion, the Machines stop their attack and retreat, obliging the new peace that Neo bartered. Neo also negotiated that Zion can free minds without any Machine interference if those minds become aware of the nature of the Matrix.

As the movie ends, we see a black cat—like the one that Neo saw in the first movie—as it stops, becomes digitized as the Matrix itself is reloaded from Neo's programming, and then resumes its business. Sati, a young program smuggled into the Matrix awakes, meets with the Oracle, and creates a sunrise in honor of Neo. Sati asks if we will see Neo again. The Oracle says, "I suspect so".

Neo's legacy

The Wachowski brothers keep a tight lid on official "Matrix" properties and spin-offs, but things do trickle out. Two places to look for more Matrix-derived entertainment come from the gaming world.

"The Matrix: Path of Neo" promises players a chance to become Neo through his many adventures.

In the MMORPG sequel, The Matrix Online, the remains of Neo's 'RSI' (Residual Self Image) are encoded into a new form of false Agents made by an Exile named Silver.

Later, Morpheus argues that the Machines have never returned Neo's physical remains (Thomas Anderson's actual body) to Zion, but at the same time they cryptically commented that they didn't recycle them.Template:Matrix

fr:Thomas A. Anderson


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