, Research Paper
The Hero Myth of the Matrix
According to Linda Seger all myths, in all cultures are much the same. In these myths it is just the time, place and setting that changes. This is why Hollywood is so successful at making good movies, because they base it off these myths. The most popular myth is that of the hero, because for most of us this is what we want to be. With this myth we can live that experience through these characters. In the creation of a hero there are ten stages, using the Matrix as an example we will look at these ten stages.
Like in Linda Seger’s essay, the first stage of the hero is he/she is presented to the viewers in normal surroundings doing normal things. In the movie the Matrix Thomas Anderson, also known as Neo, (Played by Keanu Reeves) is a program writer for a software company and lives by himself. The only way this story differs from Seger’s essay is in Neo’s free time he is a rebel computer hacker. He does this because he is looking for an answer. “What is the Matrix?” This is the way we see Neo before his transformation into a hero.
The second stage of the hero, according to Seger, is when the real shaping of him/her begins. Something happens to the hero and he/she must make a choice. In the Matrix, Neo is told, through the computer, by Trinity (Played by Carrie-Anne Moss) to “Follow the white rabbit.” He then meets Trinity at a club, and she warns him that he is in danger. Neo, is then captured by agent Smith, (Played by Hugo Weaving) Brown, (Played by Paul Goddard) and Jones (Played by Robert Taylor). They tell him to help them capture Morpheus (Played by Laurence Fishburne) or be tried for computer hacking, but he refuses. This is the choice he had to make, that is when the adventure really begins. Now that we have the agents and Morpheus after Neo, we can real start looking for some major changes to happen.
Stage three, like in Seger’s essay is when the hero is called upon. However, sometimes the hero is not ready to go or are scared of what they may find out. In the movie Neo meets Apoc, (Played by Julian Arahanga) Switch, (Played by Belinda McClory) and Trinity, he is told to do what they say or get out of the car. At first, Neo chooses to leave, but Trinity calls upon him to stay and trust her. This was Neo’s calling, and the introduction to his next step.
Seger writes, that the forth stage is when the hero meets his helper or helpers. Because of the help, they offer the hero will be able to complete his/her journey or adventure. The helper could be anybody from a small child to a guardian angle. This helper usually give the hero something that will help him/her to complete the journey, it could be advice, training or a small item to protect him/her. In the Matrix, Neo has many helpers. The two that helped him the most are Morpheus and the Oracle (Played by Gloria Foster). Morpheus is like the Wise old man who offers Neo the truth of the matrix and advice. Morpheus is also the one who start Neo’s training by telling him what he can and cannot do in the matrix. Then there is the Oracle she is like the Good mother, who give Neo advise which helps him make a choice later during his journey. For the most part many people helped Neo through his transformation, but these two are the biggest help of all.
Seger writes in stage five, that the hero will go through a change. Through this change, the hero will overcome many obstacles to achieve his/her goal. In the Matrix Neo must take the red pill. He then awakes in the real world and the matrix flushes him out into the old sewers. Because everyone thinks, he is the One they help him. This is the first major turning point in Neo’s life. Everything he had is gone and now he is in a new world and must overcome many things, which is the beginning of the sixth stage.
According to Seger, Stage six is when the hero will be put to many tests and will have to pass them and overcome many obstacles in order to defeat the enemy. In the film, Neo is forced to survive outside the incubator, that he has lived in all of his life. He must learn to walk and use his eye, because he has never done these things before. He must learn to fight and bend the rules of the matrix. However, the first time he is put to the test is when Morpheus takes him to see the Oracle and the agents ambush them. Neo makes it out, but Morpheus is captured. This is the perfect set up for the next stage.
According to Seger, in the seventh stage, the hero has a “Death experience” and is reborn into a new type of person. In the movie Neo has two of these experiences and in a way is reborn twice. The first time this happens is when Neo takes the red pill and is flushed out of the matrix. Inside, the matrix he was Thomas Anderson, program writer for a software company. Now in the real world he is reborn and takes his chosen name of Neo. The second time he has a death experience, is when him and Morpheus are ambushed they are inside of the walls of an old build trying to escape from the agents. Just as it looks like in is all over for Neo; he just barley escapes from the agents, however Morpheus does not. This moves the story to the next stage.
Stage eight, According to Seger, is when the hero takes his/her weapon and treasure, according to Seger “He is now in charge, but he still has not completed the journey.” Now that the hero now has, everything he/she needs it is time for the hero to make his/her way back to safety. During the film, Neo takes possession of many skills that he will need through the rest of his adventure, and his treasure is the knowledge that Morpheus has. Therefore, Neo takes it upon himself to rescue Morpheus. Once this is done, they are on their way back out of the matrix, which is a great setup for stage nine, the escape.
As Seger writes in her paper, stage nine is the get away; the bad guy is after our hero. The hero is trying to get himself and his treasures back to safety. In the Matrix Neo and Trinty rescue Morpheus from the agents. However, they are not home free yet, the agents are after them and plan to kill them all. Neo knows that he must get Morpheus and Trinity back to safety or the world will never have a chance to be free of the matrix’s control. This is where are hero enters the final stage of transformation.
Stage ten, according to Seger, is when the hero faces the final obstacle. By showing courage, he/she will be reborn as the “Hero” and the change from the normal person to the hero will be complete. In the Matrix, after Neo rescues Morpheus he takes on an agent. Knowing that he will be killed, because the Oracle prophesied his death, he stays to fight for freedom. After agent smith kills neo he is reborn as the hero, the one who can read the computer code of the matrix. Nevertheless, like any other story the ending would not be complete without the hero falling in love. It was really Trinity who helped with Neo’ rebirth, because she confessed her to him. So now, our hero as the power to defeat the matrix, the love of the “Princess” and the beginning of new safe world, which he will help create.
Through out this essay we have looked at the development of the “Hero” archetype. Now lets look at some of the others that where mentioned. There is the wise old man, and the good mother, these are the helpers that give advice and knowledge to the hero.
According to Seger the wise old man is a teach to the hero, and as special knowledge of the obstacles that may lie ahead of the hero. In the movie, Morpheus is the wise old man. Tells and shows Neo everything about the matrix. He teaches Neo how to fight and shows him how to break and bend the rules of the matrix.
Then there is the good mother who according to Seger has the all the qualities of a good mother she provides to all the needs of a child or who ever she is helping. She is also known for her insight. In the Matrix, the Oracle is the good mother Archetype. She cares for many including Neo; she shows she cares by bring kind. She is the one who tells Neo that he must make a choice, that he is looking for something, and he is not the one because he was maybe wanting for his next life. This show her insight and that she tell Neo only what he needs to hear not what he wants to hear.
As we stated in the beginning Hollywood is very good at making movies because they base them of these myths. The hero’s myth is the favorite and as we can see, the Matrix fit this myth perfectly. Maybe that is why it won four Oscars and three MTV awards.