|Matrix: the pill choice|
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This is probably the most famous scene from the box office hit The Matrix (1999). The film depicts a future in which reality as perceived by most humans is actually a simulated reality created by sentient machines to pacify and subdue the human population, while their bodies' heat and electrical activity are used as an energy source. Upon learning this, computer programmer "Neo" is drawn into a rebellion against the machines, involving other people who have been freed from the "dream world" and into reality.
The objective of the film is also to make us think about how free we really are. Today's society can make it possible for a chosen few to control what most people think and "choose" to do by controlling the mass media, creating a standardized society of "happy" and mild people who only care about "having fun" while leaving them do "the boring stuff" such as, for example, deciding how we're going to live and what we must think.
- At last. Welcome, Neo. As you no doubt have guessed, I am Morpheus.
- It's an honour to meet you.
- No, the honour is mine. Please, come. Sit. I imagine that right now you're feeling a bit like Alice, tumbling down the rabbit hole? Hm?
- You could say that.
- I can see it in your eyes. You have the look of a man who accepts what he sees because he is expecting to wake up. Ironically, this is not far from the truth. Do you believe in fate, Neo?
- Why not?
- Because I don't like the idea that I'm not in control of my life.
- I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you're here. You're here because you know something. What you know you can't explain. But you feel it. You've felt it your entire life, that there's something wrong with the world. You don't know what it is but it's there, like a splinter in your mind driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I'm talking about?
- The Matrix?
- Do you want to know what it is? The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us, even now in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work, when you go to church, when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.
- What truth?
- That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else you were born into bondage, born into a prison that you cannot smell or taste or touch. A prison for your mind.... Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself. This is your last chance. After this there is no turning back. You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes... Remember, all I'm offering is the truth, nothing more.
MORPHEUS= It is a common and traditional feature of English literature to give the characters names which describe them somehow. This film also uses that feature. MORPHEUS is the Greek god who causes slumber (sleep). But this character here is not inducing people to sleep, but to wake up. Anyway, he's still controlling sleep. And then we have the other character, NEO, which is a Latin word meaning "new". Neo represents in this film the new man, the hero who chooses to wake up and see reality as it is... and fight to change it.
RIGHT NOW= At this very moment. We use the word RIGHT to emphasize adverbs of time and space: I want it right here and right now.
ALICE= The main character from the fantasy book "Alice in Wonderland", by Lewis Carroll. She is running after a rabbit, then she accidentally falls down the rabbit hole and enters a world of fantasy... and craziness, but as real as this one.
TUMBLING DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE= To tumble down is to fall down accidentally. The rabbit hole is a hole in the ground where a rabbit lives. This sentence is another reference to the story of "Alice in Wonderland" (see ALICE above).
FATE= Destiny. A concept which is part of the belief that our life is already decided and we can't change it.
SPLINTER= A sharp little fragment of wood that may prick your skin.
DRIVING YOU MAD= Making you crazy.
The word "mad" means crazy in BrE and most of the times it means "angry" in AmE (but not here).
YOU LOOK OUT YOUR WINDOW= This construction is common in AmE but in BrE you need an OF there: You look out of your window.
BLIND= If something blinds you, it blocks your sight and you can't see.
FOR YOURSELF= Alone, with no help.
THERE IS NO TURNING BACK= It's impossible to change your decision.
YOU TAKE THE BLUE PILL, THE STORY ENDS= This is a common way of expressing the first conditional in informal English, we use present-present and no IF connector. The more standard construction would be: if you take the blue pill, the story will end.
WONDERLAND= Another reference to the story of "Alice in Wonderland" (see ALICE above). Wonderland is a crazy world that is, apparently, wonderful, but not really.
I SHOW YOU HOW DEEP THE RABBIT HOLE GOES= (see comments about the rabbit hole above) I'll explain to you how everything really works.
(this is not a usual English expression, it's simply a reference to the book "Alice in Wonderland", comparing both stories).