Philosophical Essay Structure

     Relationship between The Matrix (1999) and “Allegory of the Cave”


The Matrix (1999) depicts the illusion of reality that exists when human beings perceive objects only under the control of superhuman powers. In the movie, robotic machines trap people in a simulated reality while blinding them from experiencing the actual world they live in. This capture allows the machines to tap the bioenergy required for their survival. The themes and motifs in this film also appear in Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" featured in his book The Republic. In both works, the sun, reality, freedom, and captivity are used to distinguish between what human beings perceive as true and that which is indeed true.

The Sun

The sun in both works is the source of energy that keeps the world running. In The Matrix (1999), robotic machines rely on the sun to acquire the energy needed for their operation. Human beings understand that the secret to their elimination is hindering their access to this universal power source. Therefore, they obscure them from the sun, igniting a war that leads to the capture and inactivation of human beings. Plato similarly represents the sun in "The Allegory of the Cave." The prisoner who escapes from the cave recognizes the sun as the engine that drives life. He realizes that the shadows cast by the fire on the cave wall were not as clear as that cast by objects as they lie in the path of sunlight (Plato, 369 BCE).

The Concept of Reality

The major theme in both works is the concept of reality. Knowledge of reality is the comprehension of truth or that which factually exists (Fyodorova, 2016). In The Matrix (1999), Neo takes the red pill offered by Morpheus and realizes that the world he has always perceived as true is only a simulated reality. Similarly, the freed prisoner in "The Allegory of the Cave" eventually understands that the shadows cast on the wall by fire and the sounds they make are illusions. Real people and sounds take different forms and exist in reality (Plato, 369 BCE). From the two works, it is evident that people's idea of truth or reality stems from ignorance of an alternative world usually obscured by imprisonment or attachment to the status quo.

Captivity and Freedom

The protagonists in both works experience reality after gaining freedom from their captive states. As seen in The Matrix (1999) and "The Allegory of the Cave," every system has enlightened people capable of delivering freedom to the prisoners. In The Matrix (1999), Morpheus executes this duty as he offers Neo a red pill to swallow. The jailer in "The Allegory of the Cave" frees one of the prisoners and exposes him to the reality beyond the cave (Plato, 369 BCE). In both cases, however, the prisoner must show interest in discovering the truth to enjoy the gains of freedom.


The sun, the concept of reality, and captivity connect The Matrix (1999) with "The Allegory of the Cave." Both works represent philosophical concepts of truth, existence, and reality. Freedom and imprisonment also future as critical components in the perception of reality. Indeed, one must seek freedom from mental and physical bondage to appreciate the alternative world. If one is not liberated, he or she may live in a perpetual state of deception that bar them from understanding the enslavement imposed on them by powers beyond their control.