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Ponder The Meaning Of Life With 1984 And The Matrix

1900 words - 8 pages

The film The Matrix, directed by Andy and Lana Wachowski, may seem to be a unique, original storyline to the untrained viewer, but the story of a totalitarian government and a hero who attempts to save the people is far from this. In reality, there are so many similarities that can be seen in other texts that were written and filmed before that it cannot be ignored. In particular, George Orwell’s 1984 has a similar government that controls its people and a “hero”, Winston, who is also searching for the truth. Winston lives Oceania where Big-Brother and “The Party” schedule your entire lives telling when to sleep, eat, and work and keep you under constant surveillance. This is similar in The Matrix, where most of the humans lived in a computer-programmed world which is also constantly surveyed by government authorities. The Wachowski siblings’ film, The Matrix, connects with the concept of dystopia as expressed in George Orwell’s novel, 1984, by referring to a totalitarian government and the lack of choices, which it accomplishes through the introduction of new surveillance technology, comparing two worlds, and a hero’s journey to liberate the people.

The use of new surveillance technology in both 1984 and The Matrix helps to make a world in which people are truly living under complete control believable. In The Matrix, it is possible to hack into the Matrix world, but the government is easily able to detect where the hack is happening and catch up to the hackers. One example in the film is when Neo goes with Morpheous and his crew back to the “Matrix” world and the government agents quickly catch up with them, breaks into their “warehouse”, and nearly stops them from leaving to go back to the real world. The government is an omniscient entity in the film, which seems almost unreal to the viewers that they would actually be able to know everything that is happening all the time. However, with a new type of surveillance that is introduced by the Wachowskis, the Matrix world, it is now easily to see in this scene then, how the government is in control and seems to know what’s going to happen before it happens. Similarly in 1984, Big-Brother (the government) is always listening in on everyone's conversation, which Orwell makes possible by presenting new surveillance technology to his readers. Orwell explains about a device early on in the book that plays Party propaganda, can hear what you are saying, and that “the instrument (the telescreen, it was called) could be dimmed, but there was no way of shutting it off completely" (Part 1, Chapter 1). This helps to keep Big-Brother in control because if the government is always listening, then the people will be afraid to rebel or say anything negative about it, leaving them with little freedom. If you are always under constant surveillance by the government, you cannot possibly have true freedom and live the life you want to. Orwell wrote the book in a time before computers, cell phones, even color TV,...

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