Good Example Of Jung And The Tarot And The Archetype Of Neo In The Matrix Revolution Essay
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Sallie Nichols’ book, postulates an examination of the Major Arcana of the Tarot through the psychology of Jung. The Major Arcana is actually made up of the first 22 cards in a deck of Tarot cards. Tarot cards refer to a type of playing cards that are used for divination by occultists, as well as mystics. Various varieties of tarot card games are present in the world. When the cards in the Major Arcana are taken together, the interpretation is that of a story of a journey of growth. This journey begins from innocence and proceeds all the way to a point of wisdom (Nichols 15). The cards utilize symbolism and appear to be representative of the major issues we experience in our lives as we grow up. The cards’ symbols may be a representation of archetypes. According to Jung, archetypes are powerful and universal figures and symbols, borne out of two parts of the human psyche referred to as the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious. These archetypes determine our perceptions as well as our experiences. Jung postulated that there are five main types of archetypes the self, the shadow, the anima, the persona, and the animus ( Jung and Storr 45). Each card in the tarot is thus a part of the map of the journey that we take. In the Matrix trilogy, Neo, a hacker is the main character. By day, he is a computer programmer going by the name Thomas Anderson. The Matrix Revolution is the last in the trilogy of movies that charts Neo’s journey. This paper look at Neo’s journey and draw a similarity between his journey and the archetypes as brought out in Nichols’ book.
In the Matrix Revolution, Neo’s mind is trapped between the Matrix and the mainframe of the machine. Three characters, Seraph, Trinity, and Morpheus are engaged in a fight for the key to rescuing Neo.
Meanwhile, Zion’s military leaders are in preparation for the defense of their home. This defense is against the machines, which are fast approaching for an all-out assault. Agent Smith’s power continues to grow, and Neo returns to news from the Oracle that the only way to halt the war and to save humanity is to stop Smith (The Matrix Revolution).
However, the standard entrances into Zion have been severed. Morpheus though aids Niobe in guiding or piloting of the Hammer all the way back to Zion. In the meantime, Neo and Trinity are navigating their way through the systems in place for defense, on their path to the machine city (The Matrix Revolution). They do this because they are convinced that this is the end of their path. Now, diggers and sentinels are overrunning Zion. Morpheus and Niobe come back as Neo battles Smith for the final time in a clash that will determine humanity’s fate.
Smith is not the traditional opponent and is quite literally Neo’s antithesis. As each individual gains some power, the other individual responds in kind. Neo can thus never conquer Smith by applying sheer force.
Once it appears that Neo is gaining a competitive advantage, Smith immediately reverses the contest, and this occurs repeatedly (The Matrix Revolution). In order for Neo to win then, he must stop fighting.
Hence, Neo’s journey, from the initial understanding of how his whole life is an illusion to his realization of his purpose can be analyzed from the perspective of tarot cards. Tarot reading posits that the established archetypes are powerful and work together in order to develop a pattern that resonates with the questioner and allows them to comprehend their difficulties and to confront them (Nichols 36).
Just like other oracles, the symbols have a great deal of power and can demonstrate to those who read them, feelings, and ideas that simmer beneath the conscious mind. Hence, the symbolism is a way to reconcile a person with feelings they are unwilling to accept.
In this regard, at the beginning of the trilogy, we see Neo struggling to accept his new role. He cannot believe that his whole life as he knew it has been a lie. However, later on, he undergoes a phenomenal change to become the savior of his people.
In the Revolution, the change is evident, and the acceptance of his role is evidenced by his willingness to take on Smith despite the understanding of the risk. Hence, this is a clear pointer that Neo is of the warrior archetype (Nichols 53). People belonging to the warrior archetype stand out through their appearance when all hope appears lost. An illustration of this is in the Matrix Revolution when Neo returns to Zion to go and fight Smith (The Matrix Revolution). This is after everyone has almost lost hope that the hero appears ready to deliver his hometown.
The Warrior has a simple pattern of thought and is only driven by the will to win. Hence, he confronts anybody who stands in his way. The warrior, also known as the hero, lives by the motto where there is a will there is a way.
The hero has a primary desire to prove himself worthy by engaging in acts of great courage. Neo epitomizes this by going into battle with Smith, even though the odds are clearly not in his favor.
This particular archetype has a great fear of weakness. The hero regards any form of vulnerability as weakness, and vehemently seeks to avoid it. Neo epitomizes this in the Matrix Revolution when he keeps coming back up to fight, and even the Oracle-Smith cannot seem to understand why he does this (The Matrix Revolution).
When faced with a problem, a warrior’s mindset and the primary response is to confront it. Warriors are blessed with courage and determination as well as skill and discipline (Justice Tarot Card Meaning n.p). This is particularly evident in the case of Neo. Neo’s supreme fighting skills are evidence of this warrior archetype as is his determination to win. He believes in himself and in his ability to succeed even when others cannot see it.
The warrior also possesses a flaw in that this archetype may employ their skills for personal gain while ignoring the community’s interest (Nichols 59). This flaw becomes apparent in Neo when he aims to succeed in cutting a deal with the machines despite the fact that they are enemies of humans.
The single-mindedness of his focus on defeating Smith serves to bring him to the fact that the machines are equally as dangerous and could betray him. Although no such betrayal materializes, the fact that he takes this risk is a pointer towards whom he is.
One of the decisions that Neo makes that aids him in achieving his goal of defeating Smith is to collaborate with the machines. This is a bold move because the machines are also enemies to human beings. The machines however, do not attempt to stop him since they recognize that Smith is on a mission to destroy them all. Hence, they recognize the value of working together in this particular event since the defeat of Smith ensures the survival of both humans and machines.
Another decision that Neo takes in furtherance of his goal is the decision to get jacked in. Neo recognizes that the only way to beat Smith is to allow him to take over and hence to unbalance the equation.
Smith and Neo represent opposite sides that were created in order to balance the equation. The Oracle is thus there in order to unbalance this equation. Hence, Neo allows his body to be jacked in order to unbalance the equation. This consequently allows the machines access over Smith and the ability to destroy him.
In conclusion, it is evident that an analysis of the journey undertaken by Neo from the day he realizes his purpose to the day he accomplishes it is a pointer towards the influence of tarots on him. Through an analysis of archetypes, it is easy to see that Neo’s archetype is that of a warrior. A brave man who refuses to back down in his quest to succeed and to defeat Smith. Through the decisions he makes, Neo is eventually able to accomplish this goal. These decisions and actions mark him out from the rest as a hero.
Jung, C. G. and Anthony Storr. The Essential Jung. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 1983.
"Justice Tarot Card Meaning." N.p., Web. <http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/learn/meanings/justice.shtml>.
Nichols, Sallie. Jung and Tarot: An Archetypal Journey. . New York: S. Weiser, 1980.
The Matrix Revolution. Dir. The Wachowski Brothers. Perf. Keanu Reeves, et al. 2003.
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