The Matrix character names

The Matrix character names

Several of the character names in the "Matrix" series have additional meanings.


*Smith - In an early scene in "The Matrix Reloaded", Smith drives an Audi A8 with the license plate number "IS 5416"; in the King James Bible Isaiah 54:16 reads "Behold, I have created the "smith" that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy." It should be noted that the three Agents' names in "The Matrix" (Smith, Jones and Brown) are all very common surnames.

*Neo / Thomas Anderson - The word 'Neo' is an anagram of the word 'eon' and the word 'One.' Neo ( Νέο ) is also Greek for 'new,' suggesting messianic overtones for his mission in the Matrix. The name "Thomas Anderson" is likely a reference to the gnostic Gospel of Thomas and the Greek word for "man", "andras" (Άνδρας), which, in ancient Greek, is "andros" in the genitive case. From "andros-son" we are given the term Son of Man, a direct reference to Jesus Christ. Thomas may also be a reference to Doubting Thomas, the name of an apostle who doubted the resurrection of Jesus Christ at first.

*Trinity - Trinity is the name in Christianity of the three persons in one God which is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This may be a reference to Neo, Trinity, and Morpheus.

*Morpheus - Greek god of dreams (Μορφέας).

*Switch - Switch's name may be a reference to a network switch, or any number of "switches" used in computer technology. Many other Matrix characters' names reference computer technology, such as Mouse and Link. The name Switch could also be a reference to her white clothing ('switched' from the usual black attire worn by the others).

*Cypher - Cypher's name may be a reference to ciphering, or encryption, which is commonly done to prevent computer documents and programs from being hacked. Cypher himself is very difficult to understand and his selfishness and treachery is hidden under a facade. The name is also a nod to the hacker subculture, which greatly influenced the first film. Cypher may also be related to Lucifer (Lu-Cypher), the Angelic name of Satan, referring to his actions in rebelling against Morpheus.

*Apoc - Short for Apocalypse, translating to The Revelation, or revealing of the truth.

*Mouse - A reference to a computer mouse. Also the name of a character in the Hugo Award nominated Science Fiction novel "Nova" (1969) by Samuel R. Delany.

*Tank and Dozer - References a military tank and a bulldozer. Both are heavy machinery, usually thought of as unstoppable.

*Councillor Hamann - A reference to J. G. Hamann (Johann Georg Hamann), the philosopher.

*Councillor West - A reference to, and played by, Dr. Cornel West, the philosopher.

*Councillor Dillard - A reference to Annie Dillard, the author.

*Commander Jason Lock - A reference to John Locke, the philosopher. Lock's callsign is "Deadbolt," a play on his name.

*Captain Soren - A reference to Søren Kierkegaard, the philosopher, originator of the concept and terminology of the "leap of faith" and often regarded as one of the fathers of existentialism. He used the pseudonym Vigilius Haufniensis ("watchman of the harbour) which also links to the ship's name.

* Captain Ajax - (commands the "Icarus"). A reference to the Greek hero Ajax in Homer's Iliad.

* Captain Thadeus - (commands the "Osiris", as seen in the Animatrix) - Thaddeus is one of the names for Saint Jude, the patron saint of lost or desperate causes.

* Captain Ballard - A reference to J. G. Ballard, the British novelist and forerunner of the cyberpunk movement in literature which inspired "The Matrix".

*Link - In general, a link is something that holds or binds things together. Most likely another reference to computer technology. In computer terminology, a "link" may be a reciprocal link, a hyperlink, a data link, or a hard link, among others.

*Ghost - Ghost's name may be a reference to the phrase "ghost in the machine", which describes the concept of mind-body dualism. A student of philosophy, he quotes and/or refers to David Hume, William James, Nietzsche and especially Kierkegaard.

* Malachi - Meaning "My messenger/angel". Malachi was the last of the minor prophets and writer of the last book of the Old Testament.

* Bane - meaning "nemesis" or "enemy."

* Seraph - A "Seraph" is a member of the "Seraphim" (Σεραφείμ), the highest order of the hierarchy of angels in medieval Christian theology (among other angelic designations from other faiths/belief systems. See Seraph for more.).

* The Merovingian - The Merovingians were a dynasty of Frankish kings who ruled parts of France and Germany from the 5th to the 8th century AD. According to some fictional accounts, for example the novel The Da Vinci Code, the Merovingians claimed descent from Jesus Christ. The Merovingian is also characterized fairly heavily as Hades -- Lord of the Underworld. In Greek mythology, Hades is married to Persephone.

* Persephone - Greek mythology states that the goddess Persephone (Περσεφόνη) was taken to the underworld by Hades; she was the beautiful and lonely bride of a monster - Hades himself. Her mother, Demeter (Δήμητρα) , goddess of the harvest, pled for her daughter's company; Hades, moved, allowed his wife to return from the underworld for six months a year. During the other half, Demeter mourns and winter reigns.

* The Oracle - The "mother" of the Matrix, as described by The Architect, the primary creator. She is an analogue of the Delphic Oracle - all-seeing and all-knowing. The film appears to make close references to the Delphic Oracle (Μαντείο Δελφών) , including the Latin sign that reads "Know Thyself" over her kitchen door; the three legged stool she sits in (the Pythia sat in a tripod); and even the smell of baked cookies: the Pythia breathed in the fumes of the earth which contributed to her prophetic trance. The term is also used in complexity and computability theory: an oracle machine is an abstract machine used to study decision problems - a very apt description of the Oracle's role in the Matrix.

* The Keymaker - A program designed to create access points through practically any location in the Matrix.

* The Architect - A software architect is someone who designs computer systems at a high level, and The Architect is assumed to have designed the Matrix itself, but was unable to do so on his own; this is where The Oracle came in. "The Architect" is also a name for God commonly used by the Freemasons.

* Mifune - In honor of Toshiro Mifune, an actor that played many Samurai in Japanese films.

* Charra - (defender of Zion, woman with bazooka) Spanish for "cowgirl."

* Choi - French for "choice" (Slightly altered—this is "choix"). His girlfriend is Dujour, French for "of the day" (Slightly altered—this is "du jour"). Choix du jour means "plate of the day". Or it could pertain to Croix de Guerre which means "Cross of War".

* Zee - Is "not" a reference to actress Nona Gaye's aunt Zee (short for Zeola), as the character was named before Gaye was cast.

* Sati - A reference to the Hindu figure Sati. Sati often means "Self immolation" or self sacrifice. In the language "pali", sati the state of being mindful, which means to be with what is, so sati is a special kind of consciousness or self-consciousness.

* Rama Kandra (Chandra) - A reference to the Hindu figure Rama, one of the avatars of Vishnu.

* Kamala - A reference to Kamala, one of the Krittikas, or Pleiades, in Hindu epic the Mahabharata. It is also another name of the Hindu goddesses Lakshmi and Durga.

* Captain Kali - Kali is a Hindu goddess who is said to feed on the bodies of the dead on battlefields. The consort of Shiva, Kali counterbalances life with death.

* Cain and Abel - (the Merovingian's two vampire henchmen) - Cain and Abel were the first two children (the children of Adam and Eve) in the Old Testament. Also a popular "hacking" program.


It is important to note that in no case does a freed human continue to use their birth name having been freed from the Matrix, instead using their hacker alias, with only humans born in the real world- such as Dozer's wife Cass- possessing anything close to conventional-sounding names. The reasons for them doing so were never expressly stated, but the most likely explanation would be the humans wishing to declare their independence of the Matrix by using names that they chose for themselves rather than the names that they were given in the artificial reality of the Matrix itself. The fact that Neo vocally objects to Smith's habit of referring to him as 'Mr Anderson'- just as Smith referred to Cypher as 'Mr Reagan'- is a particular example of this, possibly reflecting Smith attempting a subtle psychological victory by referring to them by the names the Matrix gave them to reflect his belief in the dominance of the system rather than the dominance of human beings.


* Nebuchadnezzar (Commanded by Captain Morpheus) - Nebuchadnezzar (Ναβουχοδονόσορ) was the Babylonian king in the Bible who (as an agent of God) attacked Jerusalem. God did this because the people had become corrupt, turned from God, and even ignored the prophets God sent to warn them. Notably, the Bible records King Nebuchadnezzar having had a number of prophetic dreams - which relates to the ship's captain name: Morpheus, the Greco-Roman god of dreams. The ship's launch plaque designates the Nebuchadnezzar as Mark 3 No. 11, in the King James Bible Mark 3:11 says (in reference to Jesus Christ) "And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God."

* Logos (Commanded by Captain Niobe) - In pre-Socratic philosophy - "Logos" (Λόγος) the principle governing the cosmos, the source of this principle, or human reasoning about the cosmos. In Judaism, the word of God. In Christianity, the creative word of God, embodied as Jesus Christ. In the New International Version translation of the Bible, John 1:1 says "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." The word translated here as "Word" is logos and is in reference to Jesus Christ, defining Jesus as the originating force of the universe.

* Mjolnir a.k.a. the "Hammer" - (Commanded by Captain Roland) - The name of Thor's hammer in Norse mythology, translated literally as "that which smashes". From this hammer, Thor could produce thunder. Though the ship's name is "Mjolnir", it is always referred to as "the "Hammer".

* Caduceus - (Commanded by Captain Ballard - Bane's ship) the staff of entwined serpents belonging to the Greek god Hermes. The caduceus had the power to induce sleep in men, or awaken them (following the theme of "waking up" common in "The Matrix"). Today it is an emblem for the practice of medicine.

* Osiris - (Commanded by Captain Thaddeus) Featured in the Animatrix movie "Final Flight of the Osiris". Osiris, from Egyptian mythology, the god of death and the Underworld.

* Vigilant - (Commanded by Captain Soren) From the OED: "Wakeful and watchful; keeping steadily on the alert; attentively or closely observant." Søren Kirkegaard (who the captain's name refers to) used the pseudonym Vigilius Haufniensis (meaning "watchman of the harbour") which also links to the name of the ship.

* Gnosis - (Commanded by Captain Ice) "Gnosis" (Γνώσις)- Idea from Gnosticism of the awareness of the spiritual nature of the cosmos.

* Novalis - (Commanded by Captain Tirant) pseudonym of German Romantic poet and novelist, Georg Philipp Friedrich Freiherr von Hardenberg. Wrote, "Sleep is a digest of sensual impressions. Dreams are excrements."

* Brahma - (Commanded by Captain Kali) "Brahma" is the Hindu creator god. One part of the Trimurti. His four heads recite the Vedas (which translates into "Knowledge" or "Truth").

* Icarus - (Commanded by Captain Ajax) "Icarus" (Ίκαρος) is in Greek mythology, the son of Daedalus (Δαίδαλου), who with his father, escaped imprisonment on wings crafted of feathers and wax. Icarus ignored his father's advice and flew too close to the sun, which melted the wax and caused him to crash into the ocean and die. "Icarus" is also a computer term for a program that crashes often.

* Pequod - (Commanded by Captain Flint) "Pequod" was the name of Ishmael's ship in the novel "Moby-Dick".

* Witness - (Commanded by Captain Axel) This ship is owned by Turbine but commanded by Axel.


* Zion - Hill in Jerusalem which was the site of Solomon's Temple; Jerusalem; Palestine-Anointed city of God, used through various religions.

* Club Hel - Characterized as the Greek mythological Underworld (Κάτω Κόσμος), analogous to Hel/Hell in other belief systems. The Club is guarded by three identical bald men, denoting Cerberus (Κέρβερος), the three-headed dog guarding the underworld in Greek mythology. May also be a reference to Hel, the monstrous, half-rotten daughter of the Norse god Loki, and from whom Christianity gained its name for the abode of the damned. When confronted by Trinity and the others, the Merovingian commented "You fought through 'Hel' to get here"

* Le Vrai Restaurant - "Le Vrai" loosely translated from French means "the Truth" or "the Real."

* Mobil Ave. - Mobil is an anagram of Limbo, a refercen to a place between two worlds.

* Zero One - The first city of the machines. 01 sounds similar to Zion. Most likely named for its relation to binary code (0,1) used in computers.

* 101 - Neo's pod identification and location. It is also binary for the number five, and since computer indices start from 0, 101 would be the sixth iteration just as Neo is the sixth 'One.'

* Hotel Delivery _ Unknown. Maybe it is because it is where tripulations of Nebuchadnezzar deliverys itself to the Matrix in the first one

ee also

* Simulated reality


See Talk # Desa. "Unlocking The Matrix." "Time", Canadian ed. (May 12, 2003): p. 53.

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