Symbolism in the Matrix

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The hidden meaning of Matrix Symbols, Matrix Names and Matrix Numbers

Meanings of names in the Matrix

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"Neo"

  • Neo means "New" (Greek)
  • N-E-O is an anagram of O-N-E

 

"Merovingian"

 

"Matrix"

  • Biology: A basic substance without inner structure
  • Biology: Hull of the chromosomes
  • Biology: Base of the fingernail / toenail
  • Biology: Base layer of the hair
  • Mineralogy: The natural material containing the minerals
  • Mathematics: A rectangular scheme of numbers
  • Latin: Source; cause; mother animal; uterus

 

"Thomas A. Anderson"

  • Ander = "Man" (Greek)
    Son = "Son"
    Anderson = "Son of man". An attribute also given to Jesus. Moreover "Neo Anderson" would mean "New son of man".
  • "Thomas A." is probably related to "Thomas Aquin" a saint of the catholic church.

 

"Trinity"

  • Trinity = "3 in 1"
    Old (Egyptian) belief, marketed by the catholic church, that god can be divided in 3 parts (or persons or features or gods). One could write whole books about these trinity mythologies.

 

"Morpheus"

  • Morpheus is the Greek god of dreams
    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. How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?"

    Morpheus: "You've been living in a dream world, Neo."

    Morpheus: "The Matrix is a computer generated dream world"

    Agent Smith (to Morpheus): "The perfect world would dream that your primitive cerebrum kept trying to wake up from."

    Morpheus: "Good night, Zion. Sweet dreams."

    Morpheus: "I have dreamed a dream, and now that dream has gone from me."

 

"Nebuchadnezzar"

  • Nebucadnezzar is a king mentioned in the bible who is haunted by bad dreams
  • Nebuchadnezzar is Morpheus' ship and Morpheus is a Greek god of dreams.

 

"Zion"

  • "Zion" = "Scion"
  • "Zion" in the sense of "Jerusalem"
  • Lambert Wilson (who plays the Merovingian) mentions in an interview that Zion is related to the "Priory of Zion" (Prieure du Notre Dame du Sion), a secret society, with connections to Knights Templar, Roscicrucianism, Freemasonry, Arthurian and the Holy Grail.
    From crystalinks.com/templars5.html:
    "The real mission of the Templars and Priory of Zion: To safeguard not just the treasure of the Crusades, but to preserve the Grail... The Merovingians were considered in their day to be quasi-mystical warrior-kings vested with supernatural powers."
  • Not to forget "The protocolls of the sages of Zion" and the council of the elders of Zion.

 

"Cypher"

  • "Cypher" sound similar to "Lucifer"
  • "Cypher" is another word for "void" / "zero" / "nil" / "not real" / "not entity"
  • Since "decipher" = "decode, then "Cypher" could mean "encode", because keeps the Matrix alive rather then de-code (= destroy) it.

 

"Niobe"

  • "Niobe" is a Greek goddess who wanted to be adored for being a mother.

 

"Apoc"

  • "Apoc" = Apocalypse

 

"Reloaded" / "Revolutions"

  • "Matrix Reloaded", because it's the sequel
  • "Matrix Reloaded", because the cycle is about to start again or reload with fresh changes (Neo has to choose 23 people)
  • "Matrix Reloaded", because the Matrix will reboot (who knows, this is just a theory so far)
  • "Matrix Reloaded", because Zion is within a Matrix (thus Zion is the outer Matrix, while the Matrix is a reloaded one)
  • "Matrix Reloaded", because Neo has to go back into the matrix to continue the fight, that he has partly won in Matrix 1.
  • "Matrix Reloaded", because "Matrix 2" is a lame name compared to "Reloaded"
  • "Matrix Reloaded", because it's a better movie now (e.g. 'Twin peaks reloaded' -> 'Twin Peaks updated/refreshed etc...')
  • "Matrix Reloaded", because at the end of Matrix 1 we saw the words "System Failure" and now the system has been reloaded. 

 

  • "Matrix Revolutions" because things will change
  • "Matrix Revolutions" because the Matrix will revolve (= cycle)

 

Misc

  • From the book The Traveller's key to Anceint Egypt by John Anthony West (pg. 239 2nd edition):
    There is an extremely interesting Late Kingon (ca. 300 B.C.) "magical" papyrus called the Leyden Papyrus (now in the Leyden Museum in Holland) in the form of an extended incantation designed to negate the power of the Sethian serpent, Apopis. This text unites the principal aspects of the ancient creation myths in a single extended composition. It is particularly important in that its system of numeration identifies the principle or aspect of creation with its matching, underlying, mystical number, a rare direct piece of evidence for the Pythagoreanism infusing Egyption myths and symbols. 

    Thus the stanzas numbered 3, 30, 300, have to do with the triple nature of The One, the familiar if elusive Trinity of Christiantiy, and those numbered 6, 60, 600, concern the volume, space and time. The number 6 is inextricably related, both physically and metaphysically, to these concepts. Apart from the Physical reminder of the six direction (four cardinal points plus up and down) timekeeping and calendrical systems all over the world are based upon 6 and divisions of 6 (12 months, 24 hours, 60 minutes, etc.). In the Leyden Papyrus it is the myserious Amon that governs or infuses the created Universe....

 

Did you notice something not mentioned here?

Meanings of numbers in the Matrix

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#101

  • Neo's room apartment in Matrix 1
  • 101 is a cool prime number.
  • The Merovingian's floor level (when Neo visits him in his restaurant)
  • The highway chase [Matrix 2] is on Highway 101.
  • It is sprayed on the wall when Neo talks to the Oracle [Matrix 2].
  • 101 is binary for 5 (thus the 6th number if you consider 0 to be the first).
  • "Room 101" is a torture chamber (George Orwell's 1984)
  • Maybe also a meaning like "Physics 101", "Maths 101" = "course for beginners" could be considered

 

#303

  • The room where Matrix 1 starts off (with Trinity fighting the policemen)
  • The room (it's the very same room) where Neo is shot by Agent Smith [Matrix 1].

 

16+7=23+1

Architect: "The function of the One is now to return to the Source...After which, you will be required to select from the Matrix 23 individuals - 16 female, 7 male - to rebuild Zion."

  • 23 is half the number of human chromosomes (46)
  • 23+1 (= 23+Neo) makes 24. Reference to 24 hours?
  • The ratio 16 women to 7 men plus 1 male Neo = 2 females to 1 male.
  • Maybe also a reference to Noah and his sons and daughters when surviving in the ark: 1 Noah +3 sons +their wives = 8 humans = 24 /3. Zion's start up humans could be said to be 3 times as many as the ark.

 

Pi (=3.14...)

  • Smith (possessing Bane) cuts a Pi symbol into his hand
  • Neo and Trinity and Niobe have 314 seconds to come thru to the Architect

 

#6

  • Neo is the 6th integral anomaly
  • Neo is Morpheus' 6th candidate for The One. (The other 5 dies before Morpheus met Neo)
  • 6 is the numerological symbol of "choice" or "decision that will determine the future". 6 is like a mountain peak with a ball on top. And now the fate decides where the ball is going to roll. 666 is an even higher, tapering peak.
  • On the 6th day, man was created and the creation completed.
  • On the 7th day the god of the bible takes a rest (thus the 6th day is busy, while the day after is fun)
  • The TV series The Prisoner (from the 1960's with Patrick McGoohan) features the hero which is held captive and given the number #6.
    As Neo runs through the old lady's apartment (near the end Matrix 1) we see an image on the TV of a menacing man in a black suit coat. The image is that of one of #2 from this TV series.
  • 6 is mathematically the first perfect number (= a number that is the sum of its divisors): 1+2+3=6
  • The are 6 anagrams of "n-e-o":
    • neo
    • one
    • eon
    • eno
    • noe
    • oen

 

"Mark III No 11 Made in the USA Year 2069"

  • "Mark 3 #11 M" is Morpheus' ship's number.
    Bible: Markus 3:11
    "Whenever the evil spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, 'You are the Son of God'."
    Bible: Markus 3:12
    "But he gave them strict orders not to tell who he was"

 

Did you notice something not mentioned here?

Meanings of times in the Matrix

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12 o'clock

  • Trinity goes to the power station at 12PM
  • Neo goes to the Merovingian's restaurant La Vrai at 12 o'clock afternoon.

 

18th September

  • At the end of Matrix 1 Neo talks in a phone box. The datum shows "9-18-99". 18.Sep is the birthday of Andy Wachowski's wife Alisa Blasingame.

 

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Meanings of symbols and names on buildings etc.

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"Loop"

  • "Loop" is written on the subway train [Matrix 1 and Matrix 3]
    Maybe this has something to do with a Matrix Time Cycle (= Matrix reboots over and over).

 

"Heart o' the city Hotel"

  • The hotel where Trinity fights the police men and where Neo is shot by Agent Smith [Matrix 1]

 

Names of buildings, companies and streets

  • DISCO SYSTEMS (when Neo "does his Superman thing")
    • possible a reference to Cisco Systems?
  • EON (when Neo "does his Superman thing")
    • Anagram of N-E-O
    • eonreality.com, a content-management company
    • E.On German energy provider
  • ESC (when Neo "does his Superman thing")

 

Did you notice something not mentioned here?

Meanings of car licence plates in the Matrix

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DE2852 (The Pale Twins' car)

  • Bible: Deutronomy 28:52
    "They shall besiege you in all your towns, until your high and fortified walls, in which you trusted, come down throughout all your land. And they shall besiege you in all your towns throughout all your land, which the Lord, your God, has given you."

 

DA203 (Trinity and Morpheus' car)

  • Bible: Daniel 2:03
    "I have had a dream that troubles me and I want to know what it means."

 

IS5416 (Agent Smith's car, when he brings his earplugs)

  • Bible: Isaiah 54:16
    [New International Version (NIV)]
    See, it is I who created the blacksmith
    who fans the coals into flame
    and forges a weapon fit for its work.
    And it is I who have created the destroyer to work havoc;

    [New American Standard Bible (NASB)]
    Behold, I Myself have created the smith who blows the fire of coals
    And brings out a weapon for its work;
    And I have created the destroyer to ruin.

    [The Message (MSG)]
    I create the blacksmith
    who fires up his forge
    and makes a weapon designed to kill.
    I also create the destroyer--

    [Amplified Bible (AMP)]
    Behold, I have created the smith who blows on the fire of coals
    and who produces a weapon for its purpose;
    and I have created the devastator to destroy.

    [New Living Translation (NLT)]
    I have created the blacksmith who fans the coals beneath the forge
    and makes the weapons of destruction. And I have created the armies that destroy.

    [King James Version (KJV)]
    Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire,
    and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work;
    and I have created the waster to destroy.

    [English Standard Version (ESV)]
    Behold, I have created the smith
    who blows the fire of coals
    and produces a weapon for its purpose.
    I have also created the ravager to destroy;

    [Contemporary English Version (CEV)]
    Don't forget that I created
    metalworkers
    who make weapons
    over burning coals.
    I also created armies
    that can bring destruction.

    [New King James Version (NKJV)]
    Behold, I have created the blacksmith
    Who blows the coals in the fire,
    Who brings forth an instrument for his work;
    And I have created the spoiler to destroy.

    [21st Century King James Version (KJ21)]
    Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire,
    and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work;
    and I have created the waster to destroy.

    [American Standard Version (ASV)]
    Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the fire of coals,
    and bringeth forth a weapon for his work;
    and I have created the waster to destroy.

    [Darby Translation (DARBY)]
    Behold, it is I who have created the smith that bloweth in the fire of coal,
    and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work;
    and I have created the destroyer to ravage.

    [New International Version - UK (NIV-UK)]
    See, it is I who created the blacksmith who fans the coals into flame
    and forges a weapon fit for its work.
    And it is I who have created the destroyer to work havoc;

 

Other car plates

  • AL887 (Plate on the Matrix website)
  • CK880 (Underground garage, fight with the pale Twins)
  • CK239 (Underground garage, fight with the pale Twins)
  • A0428 (Underground garage, fight with the pale Twins)
  • BO231 (Niobe's car)
  • CK229
  • BD224
  • BE435
  • CL002
  • TX729
  • C 2788 (CZ788?)
  • CR255? (last digit unreadable)
  • 73955 (Police car)
  • 35529 (Police car)

Did you notice something not mentioned here?

Graffiti and pictures

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"?"

  • "?" is written on the newspaper of a guard [Matrix 1]

 

Did you notice something not mentioned here?

References and allusions to other works

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Simulacra and simulation

  • Simulacra means "Unreal thing"
  • In Matrix 1 Neo is hiding stuff in a hollow book called Simulacra and simulation by Jean Baudrillard. Neo opens the book at the chapter "On Nihilism". Please note:
    • The Wachowskis wanted cast members to read the book
    • The chapter is on the right side, whereas in the movie it was on the left.
    • The chapter is the last chapter, whereas in the movie it is a middle chapter.

    Thus sums up to the conclusion, that it is an important reference.

    However Baudrillard himself noted that the film's "borrowings"' from his work "stemmed mostly from misunderstandings"

Bible

  • Merovingioan: "You see, he's just a man" (when Neo is bleeding)
    is a free translation of the words "ecce homo" which refer to Jesus and the proof that he is a mere man, because of his suffering. Maybe Smith/Bane cuts his hand to see the blood, as a proof that he is now more man than before.

 

Mona Lisa Overdrive

  • The music to the freeway chase is called "Mona Lisa Overdrive"
    Mona Lisa Overdrive is a book written by William Gibson. Gibson has written another book, Neuromancer. One of the first Cyberpunk novels, featuring
    • "Zion"
    • "The Matrix"
    • "The Oracle"
    • "the construct"
    • "Smith"
    • EMP weapons
    • Only 1 survivor of an attack, sabotaged by an EMP
    • a factory of babies, grown in tubes 
    • "Reinhold Scientific A.G." (connection to Neo's boss, Mr. Rhineheart?)
    • A villian with a French accent
    • connection between brains and computers via electrodes
    • an enemy who was "an unthinkably powerful artificial intelligence"
    • Words like "The sky was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel."
      Just think of the green and blue hue in the Matrix / in Zion
    • Sunglasses
    • Trenchcoats
    • Black clothes
    • and more...

    Gibson has also written a book Johnny Mnemonic.

 

The Prisoner

  • As Neo runs through the old lady's apartment (near the end Matrix 1) we see an image on the TV of a menacing man in a black suit coat. The image is that of one of #2 from this TV series.

 

Dark City

  • The checkboard ground of the hotel where the Agents chase Morpheus and Neo is a reference to Dark City
  • The roof top where Trinity flees from the Agent is a reference to Dark City.

 

Star Wars

  • The scene where the sentinels come for the first time is Reference to Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. It's a combination of the scenes where Lando and Chewie fly the falcon after getting Luke's hand fixed, and the asteroid field scene. Luke, having just gotten a new hand, sort of limps in the cockpit with Leia; in the Matrix, Neo just woke up and hobbles in with Trinity. The cockpit is almost identical, and Morpheus says Star Wars lines from the asteroid field scene, "Set her down there" and "Here they come"

 

Terminator

  • The fading red eye of the bug [Matrix 1] thrown out of the car window and the fading red eye of the sentinels (electrocuted at the end of Matrix Reloaded) are allusions to the Terminator's fading red eyes.

 

Did you notice something not mentioned here?

Miscellaneous symbols in the Matrix

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Rain

  • It rains on Neo [Matrix 1] when he meets Trinity and Apoc in the car.
  • It rains on Agent Smith's interrogation of Morpheus (Sprinkler system)
  • It rains when Neo and Agent Smith fight against each other in Matrix 3.

 

Colors and Hues

  • The Matrix has a green tint
  • Zion has a blue tint
  • Most heroes and agents wear black.

 

Glasses

  • Our Heroes wear rounded sunglasses
  • Bad guys wear edgy sunglasses
  • The Architect wears no sunglasses
  • The Keymaker wears glasses, but no sunglasses
  • Seraph wears dark round sunglasses
  • The Oracle wears light sunglasses
  • The Merovingian and Persephone don't wear sunglasses

 

Costumes

  • Neo wears a long dark suit, as does the Merovingian
  • Trinity wears a shiny latex/ leather suit

 

Japanese language

  • I cannot confirm that (because I cannot read Japanese), but the green digital rain symbols are said to be mirrored Japanese characters.

 

Did you notice a matrix reference not mentioned here?

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