Yungian Analysis of The Matrix (series)

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Yungian Analysis of The Matrix (series)

Post  Jamarlikescereal on Fri Jan 28, 2011 12:06 pm

Yungian Analysis
The Matrix Series
Jamar Powell


Summary
The matrix series is a sci-fi action trilogy about a dystopian world where machines reign. Humankind lives out their lives within a simulated reality oblivious to the nature of the real world and the conflicts going on. Throughout the film a man named Mr.Andreson (renamed Neo) acts as the messiah for the people within the real world, and saves them from the impending extinction by the machines.

Symbolic Archetype
The matrix series is filled many of the symbolic archetypes, but the most obvious and dominant archetype is the concept of yin and yang. Smith would be the embodiment of yin while Neo would be the embodiment of yang. Yin and yang work as forces constantly opposing each other to keep the balance. Yin translated directly as shady place, while yang is translated as sunny place. Yin nor yang shouldn't looked at as inherently moral, but as opposites.
As Neo gains more respect and faith throughout the series Smith begins to fall. He first fails to kill Neo in The Matrix, then becomes a rogue program and ends up trying to take complete control of the matrix during The Matrix Reloaded. Smith ends up assimilating the Oracle's power and this in turn creates an imbalance between the Yin and Yang, an imbalance echoes throughout The Matrix Revolutions. The sentinels don't invade Zion till after the Oracle is assimilated. Smith disturbs the balance so much that Deus ex machina (the moderator of the matrix) enlists the help of Neo to stop Smith. The most powerful use of the yin and yang symbolism is in the final moments of the fight between Smith and Neo. Neo loses to Smith so he assimilates Neo, but by Assimilating Neo he's destroying his yang. Smith then explodes because how can he (yin) exist with his Neo (yang)?

Situational ArchetypeThe situational archetype of the matrix series is the journey. Neo is sent on the journey to save humankind by fulfilling his journey as the one. In The Matrix Reloaded Neo meets with the Architect in an attempt to save mankind but instead uncovers a truth he didn't expect. This is the beginning of his decent into hell. Learning the truth (that he is an anomaly created by the matrix to sacrifice himself for humanity) Neo refuses the choice given to him by the Architect and leaves to save Trinity. Neo later visits the Oracle for advice and accepts his destiny. He returns to the source by giving into Smith, which in turn causes Smith to return to the source as well. Neo completes his journey by retuning to “the world of the living”.

Character Archetypes
Morpheus inhabits the characteristics of the mentor. He’s the one to take Neo out of the matrix and guide him towards his destiny as the one. When Neo doubts himself as being the one, Morpheus is always there to change his decision. Morpheus acts as a father figure towards Neo, nurturing him and saving him in grave times of need. Neo as well begins to see Morpheus as a father figure, as Neo puts himself in harms way to rescue Morpheus from Agent Smith. Even after Neo first refuses to complete his destiny as the one by denying himself as a sacrifice, Morpheus still believes that he will save mankind. This kind of unwavering faith is very prominent in healthy teacher-student relationships, which reinforces the archetype of Morpheus being the mentor.

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Response to the Matrix

Post  nickyewener on Sat Jan 29, 2011 2:53 pm

I agree with much of what you said about the Matrix, and had never seen the yin and yang aspect between Smith and Neo before.
I think the situational archetypes of the fall and the subsequent initiation could apply to the first film. Before Neo met Morpheus, he was essentially living a delusion – in his previous life, he never had to question his reality. When he takes the red pill, he loses that state of bliss and discovers reality is much more terrifying than he could have imagined, and everything before was a lie.
However, with that fall comes the initiation into a new life, with a different kind of awareness and new problems Neo never had to consider before, like the agents, and being the One.
-Nicky

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Re: Yungian Analysis of The Matrix (series)

Post  Ajan Thunder on Mon Jan 31, 2011 4:59 pm

I haven't watched the series in too long (I promise I'll do it soon) so some of my comments might be wrong... But from what I remember, The Oracle is the wise old woman. Sure it says old man in our hand-outs but in this case The Oracle is portrayed as an old, chain smoking, cookie baking woman. The only difference is that she doesn't tell Neo what to do and how to complete his task despite the fact that she is almost all knowing. She does tell him his potential and what his options are with her telling Neo that he is The One, but not at that moment. The anomaly is that she dies and becomes a part of Agent Smith as opposed to what our work sheet said saying that she will die and become a part of Neo.
Anyways, that trilogy is too amazing and I shall be watching it sometime in the very near future. On another note, I'm not a fan of cereal. Cereal tastes like carboard. HAHAHAHAHA TROLLING!

-Aja A.K.A: AJAN THUNDER!

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Re: Yungian Analysis of The Matrix (series)

Post  Maï on Wed Feb 02, 2011 6:17 pm

I have, also, not watched the series (in a LONG time), as please forgive if I f-bomb this.

There seems to be several levels of the symbolic archetypes; Light vs. Darkness. Now, these aren't really meant to imply the human morals of what's "good" and "bad" – but the ideas of intellectualism (light) and ignorance (dark). In the very first movie (I think) the protagonist has been innocently raised, believing the world he's grown up in is the one he embodies. His situation and state of mind is dark, and rays of light burst through (Morpheus and his pills) – allowing him, Neo, to see the situation as it really is.

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Re: Yungian Analysis of The Matrix (series)

Post  JamesNaunton on Wed Feb 02, 2011 7:23 pm

A very good analysis of the series Jamar. Though I haven't seen the second film, I think it is safe to say that another situational archetype in the series is Nature Vs. Mechanistic World. In the first film it is revealed that earth was taken over by machines and humans were being farmed while living in a non existing "dream world." This struggle between nature and machines is heavily prominent when the protagonists face off against the sentinels in the real world.

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Death and Rebirth

Post  andrekg on Wed Feb 02, 2011 8:51 pm

The Matrix Death and Rebirth


The situational archetype of death and rebirth can be identified at the end of the film. From what I can remember, after Neo completes his mission, he is in a scene with an old women and a child. These two characters symbolize the death and birth archetype. This symbolizes the new generation rising to meet the challenges of the future and the old generation passing their accomplishments and problems onto the next.

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Post  Mr. C on Sun Feb 06, 2011 8:28 pm

Jamar - you picked a good one and your analysis is well done. Congratz. As the other posters have demonstrated, we could just list off the various archetypes one by one and apply them accordingly. I wonder if you could analyze the film using the five structural archetypes: persona, ego, self, anima/animus, and shadow - perhaps using the main characters?...I don't know. I do know that this film (and the series) are rife with biblical allusions and Christian mythology. You could have a field day with Frye's theories. Cheers!
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