In The Matrix (2000) Thomas A. Anderson or more widely known as Neo was recruited by Morpheus to rebel against the machines. As per the plot, The Matrix of the story was un-real and a virtual reality created by the machines, so considering this wouldn't this make Mr. Thomas Anderson un-real or virtual? Or did the Red Pill transformed him into reality? If we considered that Mr. Anderson was a virtual consciousness of Neo this means his physical self was "Plugged" to The matrix somewhere, but then the plot also describes that the Red Pill was the thing that made him capable of getting plugged onto the matrix at will. Also, why was he pursued by the agents even before he knew Trinity and or Morpheus?

Also, when the Oracle says that Neo is not The One was she lying intentionally to Neo (to avoid a pressure situation) or was she telling the truth for all intents and purposes?

  • 11
    Actually the Red Pill was a tracing program for them to find his physical body in the Body Farms. The Blue Pill is a simple sedative to make them think it was all just a dream. It's the plugs in their body that allows them to be jacked in at will.
    – Tablemaker
    Commented Oct 13, 2012 at 0:01
  • 1
    It is mentioned on the DVD commentary that everything "in the matrix" was purposely filmed with a green tint, while everything in the real world had a blue tint as a colour cue to differentiate between the two.
    – user1887
    Commented Feb 25, 2013 at 17:13

5 Answers 5


That's a lot of questions.

  • The matrix is a virtual reality. The dark tunnels, the breeding grounds, the Nebuchadnezzar, the bad food, etc., is the real reality.

  • Thomas Anderson is a real person only in the perspective of everybody in the virtual matrix.

  • The red pill did not transform Thomas Anderson, it kind of killed him: The red pill was a "virus" that the matrix program could not handle, thus so releasing Neo from its incubator, and "sending" a tracking signal to the code stream of the matrix which is intercepted by Morpheus' team. Neo woke up, became aware of the reality for the first time in his life and Thomas' code was purged from the matrix.

  • Morpheus tells Thomas that when he takes the red pill, he simply will tumble into a rabbit hole giving nothing but the truth. The red pill does not plug him into the matrix, nor did Morpheus say so.

  • Thomas was pursued by the agents from the moment the matrix program recognized the goal/plan of Morpheus' team. The very beginning of the movie reveals Trinity searching for Thomas. Of course the agents went after Trinity first.

  • The oracle tells Neo a lie because the one had to find things out for himself. Also, he kind of becomes the one by almost sacrificing himself due to the lie, but that's a whole different discussion with surely lots of opinions.

  • 1
    Any sources, or are those your personal insights? :) Commented Oct 14, 2012 at 21:47
  • 4
    @ShadowWizard - I think these are reasonable interpretations of the movie. Most are just statements of plot. The last one as NGLN points out is the most 'interpretive' of the answers.
    – iandotkelly
    Commented Oct 14, 2012 at 23:06
  • The apparent contradiction of the Oracle saying that Neo is not the One can only be fully explained with the additional context of who she is and what "the One" really means that is given in the sequels. The Matrix is a complete movie on it's own, but it is not the full story of the universe without the sequels. Here's someone who's written a lot more words than me on the subject: room207press.com/2019/07/… (Contains original research, but is quite well reasoned and supported.) Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 19:13
  • Note also that Neo, when waking up in the incubator, is effectively flushed away by the system. The Matrix was disposing of him because Thomas Anderson (Neo's Matrix identity) registered as either dead or incompatible.
    – Flater
    Commented Feb 20, 2020 at 23:10
  • "Thomas Anderson is a real person only in the perspective of everybody in the virtual matrix." No, he is real. He wasn't "code". Commented Dec 20, 2023 at 5:28

There is no true reality per se as Morpheus mention on the movie reality is nothing but electrical signals interpreted by the mind. The Thomas living in the matrix was as real as Thomas living outside the matrix. The differences is that he conformed to the reality of the matrix since he was in ignorance. Reality is more of a contextual reality. Neo asked trinity that he had memories of the time he was inside the matrix, and what did that meant, if it was not real? She responded that the matrix cant tell him who he really was.

Reality IS in fact what you want it it to be. Just like the little boy at the Oracle's apartment bending the spoon tells Thomas that he can't really bend the spoon. Bending the spoon is impossible. that which bends is only one's self. since there is no actual spoon. spoon is only a concept created by the mind to aid in the mutual understanding of a tool that is used in the aid of eating. but if there are no minds to conceptualize the idea of a spoon then spoon does not truly exist.

The oracle never lied to Thomas, since she only reaffirmed to Thomas's self answer of him not being the "one". Since he did not believe he was the one he was not the one at that point but only until he started believing in himself did he turned into the one. she did hinted though that he had the gift. The oracle would not truly had known since it depended on Thomas's choice the actual outcome of him being the one or not. Hence he started beliving he was was and changed his reality.


So what I gathered is, the matrix is a program. The "real world" is where Zion is. The matrix was created by the machines after winning the war against man kind. The matrix is implanted into the human clones that the machines grow and harvest for energy to give them the thought of living. So there for the matrix is basically a dream if you were. The reason neo came back to life and can do what he can do in the matrix is because of the spoon theory. He basically bends the fake reality. Since you can do that if your mind opens up and realizes it's not real.

Neo basically was born and his body grew to adult form in the machines pods. (Which is why he has the bolts in his skin) The red pill seems to be a virus which ends the matrix and wakes his body up.

But the real question is, how come neo had powers outside the matrix if in fact the "real world" is supposed to be real???

  • Your question is discussed in length here. Commented Nov 28, 2013 at 13:42

wouldn't this make Mr. Thomas Anderson un-real or virtual?

Thomas Anderson was a real person that was plugged into the Matrix. He had an avatar within the Matrix that was controlled by his decisions, and other people interacted with that avatar. That avatar was in some sense "not real", but only in the sense that a person talking to you on Zoom can say that the image of you that they see on their computer is "not real".

the plot also describes that the Red Pill was the thing that made him capable of getting plugged onto the matrix at will.


Also, why was he pursued by the agents even before he knew Trinity and or Morpheus?

Morpheus' team identified him as someone that would be receptive to leaving the Matrix. The Agents either independently came to this conclusion, or became aware of Morpheus coming to that conclusion, and thus identified him that way. They were then interested in him because he was likely to cause trouble for the Matrix, because he was likely to soon join the Resistance, and because they hoped that he would lead them to Morpheus; they first try to coerce him into voluntarily helping them locate Morpheus, and then put a tracker on/in him (the literal bug).


My reading of the movies is that nothing is "real". The point where Neo stops the machines while "outside" the Matix was the true error in the Matrix telling us the truth of what is happening. They were still in the Matrix at this point, and never at any point in the movies are outside it.

In my opinion, the three films make much more sense in this context. The whole idea of Zion is a pressure-release valve created to keep the humans in the Matrix pacified.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .