Love and Self-Sacrifice in The Matrix Trilogy

By Paul Martin

Now that we’ve seen the Matrix Trilogy, most of the secrets have been revealed, and some we have to figure out for ourselves. What I am going to do, is talk about one of the theme’s of the trilogy that stood out in my mind fist and foremost. That is the incredible message of self-sacrificial love that is found all throughout the films.

Starting with The Matrix, we find Trinity monitoring Thomas Anderson. Keeping tabs on him, so that they can free him, incase he turns out to be The One. However, she’s been set up by Cypher in the first scene, as the line has been tapped, and Agents come after her. She barely escapes. All that she is doing, is watching for the possibility that they’ll find the saviour, the One prophecied to end the war with the Machines, so that anyone who wishes to be unplugged from the Matrix, can be without Agents chasing them or killing them before they can get out.

They get Thomas Anderson, Neo, out, and Morpheus tells him all about the Matrix. They train Neo, and take him to see the Oracle. The Oracle tells Neo, that he has two choices. To save Morpheus’ life, or his own. She also tells him that being the One is like being in love. No one can tell you that you are, you just know it. As they leave, they are attacked, because a man called Cypher betrayed them to the Agents. At the end of this scene, Morpheus decides to sacrifice his life to stop the Agent from chasing the remaining members of the crew. He believed Neo to be the most important person and that the future of the human race would depend upon him. He threw himself at the Agent, knowing that no man had ever survived a fight with an Agent. The Agents just take him captive, to get the access codes to Zion, the last human city. Morpheus knew, at that point, that he was dead, so he gave his life so that Neo may live.

Neo decides that he’s going to sacrifice his life to bring Morpheus back to the fold, because the Oracle told him that he was not the One that Morpheus was supposed to find. Trinity decides to go with him, because she knows how important Morpheus is. Thus, she is sacrificing her life to bring Morpheus back. They succeed, and all survive. Save Neo. He let’s Morpheus and Trinity get out of the Matrix first, and when Agent Smith shows up, he faces Smith down mano-a-mano. After a fierce battle in the subway, Neo runs off, looking for an exit. Just as he’s about to get to one, Agent Smith kills him. Neo comes back, and jumps into Smith, deleting him. He gets out, and informs the Matrix that he’s going to reveal the truth of the Matrix to people inside the Matrix.

For six months, he’s able to do just that, although not as quickly as we thought he’d be able to. With a limited number of ships to pull people out, and the amount of food, and space in Zion, it seems illogical that they’d be able to free everyone. They had free’d many more minds than in the time before the One though.

We pick up Reloaded at this time, and Agents come and try to attack the leaders of all the ships connected to the Matrix. Neo realizes that they are upgrades, much better than the Agents of the from six months earlier, and that they’ll be much more difficult to defeat than Agent Smith was, six months earlier. This implies that the Matrix took about that time to upgrade the Agents to take Neo on.

We begin this movie with a dream that we discover later is a vision. In this scene, Trinity has sacrificed herself to make sure that Neo survives and can reach the source.

Backing up a bit, we follow Neo on his journey to the Oracle, where he learns of the Keymaker. The Keymaker is the only way to make it to the source of the Matrix. The only way to get the Keymaker though, is through the Merovingian. Morpheus, Neo, and Trinity go to see the Merovingian, whose wife Persephone leads them to the Keymaker. But only after kissing Neo, and learning, through the kiss, how much Neo and Trinity were willing to do for one another, and how much they loved each other. She longs to feel love again, as she had so long ago, but she can only feel that love when she kisses someone who is in love.

In Zion, two ship captains decide to go and help Morpheus. One whole crew is lost during the mission, which puts the entire plan in jeopardy. Trinity goes in to finish the job for the crew that started it, risking her life in doing so.

The Keymaker barely gets Neo and Morpheus through the door leading to the source in time before his life is taken by Agent Smith. He gave his life so that Neo could reach the source.

Neo talks with the creator of the Matrix, who gives Neo another big choice. The woman he loves or Zion. Should he choose Zion, Trinity would die, and the Matrix would Reloaded with better code than before, making sure that less would want out of the Matrix. He would then be given the chance to select 23 people, 16 female and 7 male, to rebuild Zion, so that the less than one percent of plugged in people that reject the code would have someplace to go. However, he chose to save Trinity and to attempt to save Zion after that. He gets there just after she’s been shot, and she nearly dies. He pulls the bullet out and restarts her heart. They unplug from the Matrix and end up having to leave the Nebuchadnezzar behind. Sentinels attack, and Neo knows that they can’t make it. He then realizes that he can feel them and he turns around and goes to stop them. He destroys them in much the same way that he stops bullets.

However, he ends up in a coma. His body is still alive, but his mind is trapped in a world between the real world and the Matrix. A train station. Here he meets a man called Rama-Kandra, who is a program from the Machine world. This program tells Neo that love is just a word, but what is behind that love is what matters. Rama-Kandra would do anything so that his daughter would live. Here is found the explanation for what the trilogy is all about. Love, and how far we are willing to go to hold on to that love. The train arrives to pick up Rama-Kandra and his family, but the Trainman won’t let Neo board.

Trinity and Morpheus go see the Oracle, who looks very different from when they saw her last. She explains that she looks this way because she chose to believe that Neo would bring an end to the war, and that her old shell was destroyed for that belief. She tells them that the only way to get Neo out is through the Merovingian. When they reach the Merovingian, he tells them that he will only give them Neo, if they give him the eyes of the Oracle. Trinity acquires a gun and places it at the Merovingian’s forehead, and gives him a choice. Either he gives them Neo, or nobody survives. He asks her if she’s really ready to die for Neo, and Persephone confirms that Trinity would kill everyone there, because she loves Neo. Trinity confirms that. She was willing to sacrifice everything to get Neo back.

With Neo back, they take him to the Oracle at his request. She tells him that she sees death coming. That he must face Smith, and that at the end of the night, either he will be in control, or Smith will. They leave the Matrix then, and have a meeting with the other ship captains about what to do next, and Neo sits in his room contemplating his next step.

Meanwhile, in Zion, Zee is making shells. She’s volunteered to help hold the dock, so that Link will make it back to Zion, when the Sentinels attack. The Kid, only 16, volunteers to help reload the A.P.U.’s during combat. Both are putting their lives in mortal danger, because of love. Zee would do anything to see Link again. The Kid would do anything to help Neo win the war.

Back in the Matrix, the Oracle allows Agent Smith to copy himself onto her, thus sacrificing herself in the war. Smith gains the eyes of the Oracle, but only what she chose to see, and not the end of the choices that she made.

On the ships, Neo tells them that he must take one of the ships to Zero-One, the machine city, and Niobe gives him hers to use. The rest of them get on the Hammer and head back to Zion to try and intercept the Sentinel attack before too much is lost, and EMP them. Trinity goes with Neo on his journey to Zero-One. She knows that he can’t make it without her, and she wouldn’t have been able to live without him. She goes despite her fears, for she knows that he doesn’t plan on ever returning. Upon reaching Zero-One, they crash, and Trinity is impaled. Once again, she has sacrificed herself to help Neo. She tells him that she was thankful for another chance. She wanted to tell him how she really felt. That she loved him. That she would do anything for him. He wants to save her again, but she tells him not this time.

Neo then climbs onto a pedestal in Zero-One and the Deus Ex Machina appears and is ready to destroy him. Neo requests to only say what he will, and after, the Machines can kill him and he won’t try to stop them. It allows him to speak. He tells the machines that he can stop Smith and no one else can. He requests peace in exchange for defeating Smith. Deus Ex Machina agrees to it, and plugs Neo in. Thus, Neo and Smith face off for the last time. The battle is fierce and hard fought. Smith asks Neo why he is continuing to fight. He responds that it’s because he chooses to. Neo then hears the words that the Oracle spoke to him earlier. Everything that has a Beginning has an End. He sacrifices himself, allowing Smith to copy himself onto Neo. The Machines then feed a virus into Neo’s body in the real world, or unplug him or something, which is unclear as of this writing. It spreads throughout all of the Smith instances, and destroys them all. The source code of the Matrix is upgraded at that point and the Matrix is reloaded. Neo’s body lays lifeless, and is carried away by the machines, as if he is to be given a hero’s burial. He has sacrificed himself to end the war and save both Zion and the machine world.

Self Sacrifice is, as can be seen above, one of, if not the most prevalent themes found in the Matrix Trilogy. It’s something that everyone does, against incredible odds, in each part of the trilogy. Sometimes they live, sometimes they die, life did prevail, and a brighter day was found for all. They all were willing to give their lives for love. Even the machines, whom we thought of as cold steel and programming, while some are just that, there are those that know what love is, and can express that love. Love is a powerful word, but the expression of that love can move mountains and change the world. And there is no greater love than to lay down your life for a friend…