The Meaning Of Terms In "The Matrix".

Don’t move this to Cafe Society, please. It is an actual factual question.

There are many terms in “The Matrix” that have Real World ™ meanings:

(Please, spelling doesn’t count.)


I liked the terms and names that “The Matrix” used to describe characters and things within the movie. I cannot help but think that there is a deeper meaning, that there is some sort of connection that can be made between these different terms, that adds another dimension to the movie.

Now that I look at this list, I see a definite old school religious connection.

Please add what other names and terms from “The Matrix” you can recall that I haven’t already mentioned, that have real world meanings.

What connections, if any, can be made between these terms?

A Nebuchadnezzer, as well as being king of Babylon, is an enormous bottle of champagne.

The other terms are variously from Egyptian or Greek mythology, save for Trinity (Christian) and Malovingian, which might stem from the Merovingian dynasty which ruled the Franks (?) in the Middle Ages.

I think this thread still belongs in Cafe Society as it is a factual question about a movie.

Anyway (and you must understand that The Matrix has been analysed to death) - as far as I can tell, there are a number of levels upon which The Matrix draws on mythology; firstly there is the injection of proper names and terms that you mention (such as Nebuchadnezzar, Trinity etc), but there are also plot parallels to various religious themes (such as Neo as a Christ figure - he dies, comes back to life and conquers).

It’s “Zion”, not “Scion”. Zion is a Christian (or is it Hebrew?) term for the Kingdom of Heaven. It’s usually portrayed as a single city, possible Jerusalem.

Also, it’s “Merovingian”. They were a line of Frankish kings known as the “long haired kings”. They were purportedly to be directly descended from Mary Magdalene and Christ. link

I’ll also add that all of the above information has been brought to you by the power of the internet, namely The Internet Movie Database and Google. Seriously, they are your friends, they just wish you’d call more often.

Meow, Munch!

I am aware of the online resources and paper dictionaries to do rudimentary research. I’m looking for Dopers’ help with trying to connect the different terms together.

So, let’s see. Neo was a Christ-like character. Merovingian is a decendent of Christ. That’s interesting. Hmmmm.

Pretty much every name has some importance in the film.

E.g., “Thomas Anderson” : There was a belief that Thomas was the twin brother of Jesus, and an important Gnostic text is The Gospel of Thomas. Anderson = “Son of Andrew” ; Andrew = “man”, thus “Son of Man”, an term Jesus used of himself, especially when emphasizing his Messianic role.

Most of the Christian elements in the film are strongly tied to Gnosticism (a mystical branch of Christianity that arose and mostly died out in the first few centuries A.D.). Here’s an excellent article on the relation of The Matrix to Gnosticisim & Buddhism (which are quite similar) : Gnosticism & Buddhism in The Matrix(from which I took the above explanation of Mr. Anderson’s name).

Although the paper only covers the first movie, the events of *
Reloaded* reinforce some of the Gnostic elements. Especially apparent is the relationship of the Oracle (Sophia) to the Architect (Yaldabaoth, the demiurge [= ‘artisan’ in Greek]).

Persephone was a bride held against her will because she was tricked into eating food of/from/in the underworld by its king; in the film, she is a disillusioned bride, and you can see what kind of food the underworld’s king serves, and draw your own pomegranate parallels and imagine their backstory. Bonus points if you notice the modem noises when she kisses Neo – more fruits of trickery? In the movie, the Merovingian claims to rule over an exiled kingdom of programs whose lineage can be traced to the original Matrix. Historically, the Merovingians were a race of Franks who claimed divine lineage from Christ but were supplanted and all but wiped out when Charlemagne came to power. (I feel that these two characters, new in the second movie, had a much larger role in Neo’s choice than was obvious on a first viewing)

Neo means “New” and is also an anagram of “One” – take what you want away from that, since it is a perfect hero/savior/prophecy-figure name. Morpheus was the king of dreams, and in the movie, is soundly criticized as a dreamer; he is also, however, one of the best warriors in the realm of dreams (that is, within the Matrix, he is something of a God among men). Trinity means a gathering of three; whether this makes her the “third” member of the team, or whether it’s meant as a hint that Morpheus, Neo, and she are respectively a father-figure, a Messiah, and a guiding spirit.

Smith is both a generic name meant to convey the idea that an Agent “could be any- or everyone”, and a name that means “maker” or “builder”. However, the origin of the name comes from the same root as “smite” (because the first smiths made their craft by smiting or striking hot metal into useful tools). The allusion to violent creation and re-making is appropriate.

The names that the Zionists give to things like their home and their ships are all taken from ancient times. Nebuchadnezzar means “may Nabu protect the border”; he was a general and a king, and this site has a detailed history of his life. His mental state, as described in that article, makes him sound surprisingly like Morpheus: always away at war, no regard for his own life, ignores all commitments except to his kingdom. The ship is described in the second film as having the most rigorous duty schedule of any in Zion. Zion is, of course, the promised land. Google is where you can look up ridiculously easy-to-find things like who Osiris was.

My feeling on the connections between these names is that there aren’t really any except what you see on the screen. The names are borrowed from a hodgepodge of ancient times. I feel that the Wachowski brothers took a Dickensian view of naming people and things in their mythos: a name should tell you something (by reference if necessary), and it should also sound cool. In general, the story borrows the impact of these cultural icons and names to lend a certain gravitas and historical or legendary tone to the tale.