In The Matrix (1999), if Neo and others live in pods and interact in a shared simulated reality, why do Agents have to hunt and fight any rebels in this virtual world? Why not just reset, press delete or rewrite the code to get rid of them (death in the Matrix being = death in real world)? The Agents have all the power, don't they?

Please provide an in-universe explanation.

  • 1
    Agents can pretty much only overlay themselves on enslaved people. Some other programs can change some aspects of Matrix, but it seems a rare event and only limited to the generic code, which any intruders are not part of.
    – Mithoron
    Aug 20, 2021 at 21:49
  • BTW now the title is plain misleading...
    – Mithoron
    Aug 27, 2021 at 19:58

2 Answers 2


if Neo and others live in pods

I think this is the part that requires correction.

Neo, Morpheus, Trinity, and the whole group of "freed" humans living in Zion means they are no longer part of the Matrix. This means agents/machines can not just unplug or

just reset, press delete or rewrite the code to get rid of them

Because these humans don't connect to Matrix via the same routes as machines do via pods etc. They kind of hack into the Matrix, even there is a dialogue in the movie where Morpheus tells Neo that they hack into the Matrix so that they convince humans to literally wake up from the Matrix, which is why the Architect designed agents to hunt down humans like Morpheus because they created hindrance in their master plan and machines can not simply unplug them or reset or delete them.

Neo, in the beginning, is part of the Matrix i.e. living in a pod, and therefore it was easy for agents to get rid of him but they didn't choose to because they wanted to capture Morpheus.

  • The reason for "freed" humans (Morpheus, etc) to hack into the Matrix (after waking up from the Matrix) is only to free other humans, as many humans as possible. It is even indicated that many of the "freed" humans didn't go back to the Matrix even once and lived their entire lives in Zion, because they didn't have any reason to go back. So hacking into the Matrix is more like a duty of a soldier that is assigned to a specific group of people. Aug 21, 2021 at 9:37
  • 1
    The answer is spot on!
    – MovieMe
    Aug 26, 2021 at 4:57
  • 2
    I agree completely with this answer. Also, there's the fact that the Architect and other high-level programs don't actually want the Zionists to be too easily defeated, as we learn they are indeed still part of the process of recreating the Matrix every time a One emerges. So it stands to reason that whoever programmed the Agents and assigned them their roles would have made sure they can't defeat Zionist hackers too easily for that reason, as well. The Agents are there to slow down intrusions and make the whole process of rebellion seem realistic. Not to actually win.
    – Steve-O
    Aug 26, 2021 at 19:32
  • @Steve-O Another level of system introduced to control humans! Totally agree! Aug 27, 2021 at 8:45

No. Agents are sort of like the security software in your PC. They make sure your system is secure and if there is any attempts to harm your system they take care of it. That's all they can do because that's all they are able to do because that's what they were designed for. Other programs handle the other aspects of the Matrix and we see some of those throughout the movies.

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