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Analysis of The Theban Plays and The Matrix

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Analysis of The Theban Plays and The Matrix By Kyle Hoath English Literature 2003 Literature is very important in the understanding of society. And not just today's society, but past society's as well. The writer's context is a combination of all that is happening in that particular society. This gives us the opportunity to use traditional literature as a window to the past, and by studying more contemporary texts we can theorise how society has changed over time. It is important that the two texts have similar themes, as this makes it easier to analyse differences and similarities in the author's representation of that particular story. Take the traditional text, The Theban Plays and the contemporary film, The Matrix. By analysing these texts we can see how society's representations of evil and good, and their attitudes towards destiny and religion, have changed over an extensive period of time. The themes and issues raised in The Theban Plays are similar to those in The Matrix. The broadest common theme is that of the story of 'good versus evil'. On one hand we have Neo verses the Agents, and on the other we have a more complex situation involving several characters confronting their 'evil' destiny's. One might actually propose that there is no evil in The Theban Plays, yet it is clear that the protagonists do have opposing characters or situations that cause a form of evil to manifest. Other themes that exist in both The Theban Plays and The Matrix include the inevitability of destiny and the notion that good will always prevail. ...read more.


Polynices and Eteocles will engage in mortal combat and slay one and other and that Creon will meet his downfall if he does not allow the body of Polynices to be buried. All of these prophecies come true. So it is in The Theban Plays that destiny cannot be avoided, nor altered. It is interesting to note that knowledge of their destiny's does not aide them in their life, but prompt them to act irrationally, further advancing any evil in the play. The notion of the inevitability of destiny is challenged in the contemporary film, The Matrix. Whilst on the surface it seems that The Matrix has a similar representation of fate, we can only begin to interpret the complexity of the situation. Unlike The Theban Plays, The Matrix explores the concept of bending and manipulating ones destiny. Consider the scene in which the Oracle tells Neo not to worry about the vase, stimulating an urge in Neo to turn around, and in doing so he knocks the vase off the table. Had knowing his destiny affected the outcome of his choices? Would he still have turned around if the oracle had not mentioned the vase? Or would he have broken the vase eventually, as it was his destiny? We can also look at what the Oracle tells Neo concerning him being the 'one'. She tells Neo that he "hasn't got it in him. Your waiting for something, maybe you will be in another life." This destiny is not fulfilled, as Neo does have it in him. ...read more.


This sort of act must have been considered evil at the time. We take the representation of evil in The Matrix to reflect the lack of trust in authorities and the destined failure of our civilisation if we are unable to fix our faults. The importance and value of modern literature is deeply imbedded in the comparisons we make between it and more traditional texts. As we have seen, by studying two texts with similar themes we can begin to theorize how society has changed over time. The realisation that we place so much importance in technology may come as a shock to someone who is very religious, but it is the truth. As time goes on we can only begin to imagine what sorts of technology we will develop. It is in this flaw, our persistence to make life completely automotive, that we will meet our demise. We spend too much time worrying about what we believe to be the 'evil' in this world that we are blind to the fact that it is in us that the true evil lies. Simple acts, like running a car or purchasing food, may on the surface seem harmless, but it is doing damage to the world, and if we are not careful there won't be a world left to protect. Technology is all very useful, but there will come a time when we need more than just a computer that can think, there will come a time when we need to look deep within ourselves and realise that the answers don't lie in technology or religion, they lie within our faith for one and other. Kyle Hoath English Lit 2003 1 ...read more.

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