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Goddamnit, Morpheus. Not everyone believes what you believe!"
"My beliefs do not require them to.

― Jason Lock and Morpheus[src]

Morpheus is one of the protagonists of The Matrix franchise.

Morpheus is a Zion operative who serves in the city's defense force against attack from the Machines. His hovercraft, the Nebuchadnezzar, has far less armament than its sister craft. As with all hovercraft, the "Neb" is equipped with an EMP weapon to disable any sentinels that they encounter.

Morpheus (the name of his persona while a bluepill within the Matrix is unknown) is an even-mannered man with a personality that commands respect in many who encounter him. As a result of his belief in the prophecy, Morpheus devotes "all of his life" in search of The One, the destined human who will bring an end to the Machine War.

Morpheus has become a spiritual figure to many citizens of Zion, much to the consternation of others who don't believe in the prophecy, such as the natural-born commander of the Zion defense force, Jason Lock.

Biography[]

Early life[]

Neo, you may have spent the last three years looking for me, but I have spent my entire life looking for you.

― Morpheus[src]

Young Morpheus in Zion

Morpheus was freed from the Matrix at a young age and dwelt in Zion. He enjoyed the taste of the rare bread, a commodity brought to the Zionites by the exploits of legendary Geoffrey. He then joined the Resistance and became the captain of the hovercraft Nebuchadnezzar. He became a well-known hacker inside the Matrix. With his crew they liberated many bluepills from their pods.

Morpheus somewhat detaches from life within Zion after the Oracle predicts that Morpheus will find The One, leaving close relationships such as that with Niobe; the finding of The One becomes his all-consuming passion.

Making Contact[]

Morpheus offers Neo the red and blue pill.

Morpheus finds the bluepill named Thomas Anderson, who calls himself normally by his hacker name of Neo. Through some misfortune, Morpheus is honored to meet the potential savior of mankind, offering Neo a red pill to find out more about the Matrix, or a blue pill to return to his old life. Neo's choice leads him out of the power plant, where Morpheus has time to repair and rebuild Neo's pod-weakened body before he must tell him the truth of the world as he knew it.

Neo reacts badly to the truth of the Matrix, and Morpheus apologizes for the event, indicating that there is normally an age limit to freeing minds that he had to break in order to free Neo. He also explains the Prophecy to Neo, and Neo's role in it.

Shortly after Morpheus and Neo return from his first visit with the Oracle, Cypher's plan to betray the crew in an effort to return his body permanently to the Matrix is launched. All of the ship's crew are killed except for Neo, Trinity, and Tank. Morpheus attacks their pursuers in order to save Neo from capture, but is captured himself by Agent Smith and taken to a military stronghold for interrogation.

Morpheus is drugged to crack his mind into giving the codes to the Zion mainframe computer. Aboard the Nebuchadnezzar, Tank recommends killing Morpheus by pulling his headjack in order to keep Zion's secrets safe. Neo stops Tank, remembering the prediction the Oracle gave to him: Neo must choose to save himself or Morpheus from death. Trinity and Neo reenter the Matrix in a very dangerous mission to rescue their leader. They are successful and Morpheus and Trinity manage to escape.

But Neo remains unable to immediately leave and is attacked by Agent Smith. Instead of running from the virtually unstoppable agent, Neo stands his ground, much to the fascination of Morpheus. But Neo is not able to withstand Smith's relentless attack, and flees, dodging Agents Brown and Jones as well as Smith. Morpheus, his ship under attack itself by sentinels, arms the EMP and whispers words of encouragement to Trinity, but when Neo is apparently shot and killed just moments away from a hardline and escape, Morpheus is crestfallen.

Trinity is not finished yet. She tells the lifeless body of Neo of her prediction from the Oracle: She would fall in love with The One. Concluding that Neo cannot be dead, she kisses him, and Neo's life signs return strongly. His avatar stands up again in the Matrix, enlightened to his powers as The One, and soundly defeats the retaliating agents.

The End Of The War[]

Morpheus is happy to serve with Neo through many adventures, freeing more minds from the Matrix in their first six months after Neo's transfiguration.

Morpheus after the Sentinels retreat from Zion

When several hovercraft crews receive word through another ship, the Osiris, that the Machines are planning a massive attack against Zion, Morpheus is unperturbed. He asks for one ship to stay within the Matrix to await further instructions from the Oracle, thereby directly disobeying Commander Lock's orders to return to Zion. Captain Ballard volunteers, stating a desire to see what Lock does to Morpheus.

The meeting ends with the Resistance being discovered first by Smith, and then the upgraded Agents. Neo dispatches the Agents as the Resistance retreats to their exits. Morpheus inquires to Link as to Neo's location, to be told that Neo was "doing his Superman thing". Morpheus safely returns to the real world and orders the Nebuchadnezzar back to Zion.

Morpheus and his crew disembark to find a 'welcoming comittee' sent by Lock to escort Morpheus to him. Commander Mifune escorts them, informing Morpheus that he is there simply to "keep the peace" after Morpheus inquired whether he was to be "escorted to the stockade". Morpheus meets with an angered Lock who tells Morpheus that he had disobeyed a direct order and that if it were up to him, Morpheus would never set foot on a ship again. Morpheus expresses gratitude that the decision is not up to him, as Councillor Hamann enters, seeking to ask Lock what the people of Zion should be told regarding the imminent Sentinel attack. Lock advised against revealing the full picture, while Morpheus advocated for telling Zion the truth, as he believed that there would be nothing to fear. Hamann arranged for Morpheus to speak at the temple that night.

Zion, hear me! It is true, what many of you have heard. The machines have gathered an army and as I speak, that army is drawing nearer to our home. Believe me when I say we have a difficult time ahead of us. But if we are to be prepared for it, we must first shed our fear of it. I stand here, before you now, truthfully unafraid. Why? Because I believe something you do not? No, I stand here without fear because I remember. I remember that I am here not because of the path that lies before me but because of the path that lies behind me. I remember that for 100 years we have fought these machines. I remember that for 100 years they have sent their armies to destroy us, and after a century of war I remember that which matters most... We are still here! Tonight, let us send a message to that army. Tonight, let us shake this cave. Tonight, let us tremble these halls of earth, steel, and stone, let us be heard from red core to black sky. Tonight, let us make them remember: this is Zion, and we are not afraid!

― Morpheus addressing Zion in the temple[src]

Morpheus took to the mount inside the temple and used the opportunity to tell Zion that the rumors of a machine attack were true, but that he was not afraid - because he recalled that the machines had sent their armies before, and Zion had survived. The speech was received well by Zion, and a rave ensued. After Morpheus left the mount, he was approached by Niobe, who recalled that Morpheus used to dance well. Morpheus answered by saying that some things never change, however before he could invite Niobe to dance, they were interrupted by Lock. After the Zion rave concluded, Morpheus bade Zion a good night.

The following morning, Ballard returned to Zion with a message from the Oracle for Neo. Morpheus assembled the crew of the Nebuchadnezzar and headed for broadcast level so that Neo could meet with her. Following Neo's meeting with the Oracle, Morpheus realised Neo had been joined by somebody, recognising Smith's code on the monitors - despite Link saying that whoever it was didn't read like an Agent. Morpheus could only watch, not knowing what was happening to Neo as Smith attempted to assimilate him. Neo succeeded in stopping the assimilation, but fled the ensuing fight upon realising that he was vastly outnumbered. When he awoke in the real world, Neo confirmed to Morpheus that he had faced Smith, and that there was now a lot more of him. Neo stated that Smith had somehow found a way to copy himself. Morpheus questioned whether that was what Smith was doing to Neo, to which Neo stated that he didn't know what Smith was doing, but it felt like dying.

With the information provided by the Oracle that Neo needed to find the Keymaker, Morpheus, Trinity and Neo returned to the Matrix and went to find The Merovingian at the Le Vrai Restaurant. The Merovingian had been expecting them, and welcomed them in a slightly-patronizing manner. The meeting did not go as they had hoped: the Merovingian refused to give up the Keymaker and instead told them to return to the Oracle with a warning that her time was almost up. When Neo said that their meeting could have gone better, Morpheus stated that the meeting happened the way it had to, and the proof was that they left it alive. They were met by Persephone before they left, who offered to take them to the Keymaker herself.

Death and legacy[]

After Neo defeated Smith, Morpheus was elected High Chair of the Council by unanimity. Sometime later, the Machine Civil War started, caused by the Machines' loss of power sources. Despite warnings of a new power rising coming from the Oracle, Morpheus continued to believe that the peace Neo had negotiated would not be broken. However, a faction of the Machines led by the Analyst invaded Zion, killing Morpheus in the real world and destroying the city. The surviving humans regrouped and, with their new Machine allies, rebuilt a new underground city, IO, led by General Niobe.

Years later, a program was created by a resurrected Neo based upon Morpheus and sharing his name. The program would later work with Bugs to help bring Neo back from the Matrix, using video footage of Neo's first meeting with Morpheus to remind Neo of his past with nostalgia.

In other media[]

The Matrix Online[]

After Neo defeated Smith, Morpheus returned to the Matrix to consult with the Oracle on the subject of Neo's remains. He then proceeded to meet with Redpills to show them that he was reconstructing Neo's RSI. After the reconstruction failed, Morpheus became more extreme in his quest to resurrect Neo and he began to challenge the Machines to give Neo's remains to Zion. Later, Morpheus gained access to code bombs and used them to cripple the Matrix and force the Machines to relinquish Neo's remains by killing massive numbers of Blue Bills.

When Morpheus was setting up a code bomb in Westview, he noticed a fly buzzing from his only exit. It seemed as though he anticipated that The Assassin would be there, even though The Assassin was never seen in public until that point. It seemed like Morpheus escaped by using a backdoor to the building. As he walked out a vent, the size of a bread box opened and The Assassin squeezed out of it, plugging several holes into Morpheus.

Morpheus's body was on display in the Sobra Shores Church where it bursts into flies several times an hour. However, recent broadcasts by him have been seen around the Matrix, and has led to the conclusion that he is not in fact dead.

It was later discovered that Morpheus was not in fact killed, but the bullets used by The Assassin were used to jam his transmission, preventing him from broadcasting inside the Matrix. Upon a fractured broadcast March 30th, 2007, he told the large gathering of Merovingian, EPN, Zionite, Cypherite, and Machinist redpills that Neo was in fact alive, being held hostage in the Machine City. Nothing has come along to corroborate this story, but Morpheus encouraged those present to fight against the Machines and make ready for a war.

It is also theorized that these transmissions are being made by a Morpheus Simulacrum controlled by The General as a form of a diversion used to spread fear and mistrust of the Machines by using remnants of Morpheus's residual self image left in the system.

Personality[]

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In The Matrix and The Matrix Reloaded, Morpheus was known to to be a truly inspirational leader and teacher to many people, particularly the majority of his crew, to the extent that Tank commented that Morpheus was a father to them, as well as a leader. It may also be noted that he tends to keep his emotions in check and rarely if ever curses unlike his subordinates such as Trinity or Neo or his boss, Locke, meaning he is much more diplomatic than other Captains such as Roland or Ballard. In The Matrix Revolutions, with Morpheus's faith in the prophecy shattered, he doesn't appear to be as strong or stoic a leader as he was in the other two Matrix films. He's even quite snappy with Niobe whilst he didn't lose his temper in the first two films unless against Smith. Nonetheless, he continues to trust Neo's judgment and support his plans; it is ultimately his faith in Neo as the man himself, rather than in the prophecy, that is finally rewarded when the Machines honor Neo's peace agreement following his defeat of Smith.

Despite his strong faith, Morpheus still showed some rationality in dangerous situations rather than blindly relying on his beliefs to see him through the current crisis, the only close to irrational decision he has even been shown to make being his decision to attack Agent Smith while unarmed in order to give Neo a chance to escape, but even then that decision made some sense as he viewed Neo as more important due to Neo being, "the One". Additionally, as seen several times during fights throughout the series, Morpheus often did the beckoning gesture at his opponents, be it friend or foe.

Interpretation[]

  • Morpheus takes his name from the Greek god of dreams (Μορφεύς, Morpheus, or Μορφέας, Morpheas, "shaper [of dreams]").
  • Morpheus' character was heavily based upon that of Neil Gaiman's Sandman, of which the Wachowskis were fans. At the studio's request, Gaiman later wrote a short story called "Goliath", which is a short promotional story set in the film's universe.
  • Morpheus' front organization, the Daniel Institute of Dream Interpretation, has led some to speculate that his bluepill name may have been Daniel. In the biblical Book of Daniel, Daniel is called on by king Nebuchadnezzar to interpret his dreams, which again parallels his name Morpheus as god of dreams. Alternatively, this could be an additional reference to Sandman and the character Daniel's association to Morpheus and The Dreaming.

Behind the Scenes[]

According to an interview with The Matrix Resurrections co-screenwriters David Mitchell and Aleksandar Hemon, the fact that Laurence Fishburne could not return for the fourth film had no effect on the story point in the released movie that the original human Morpheus died before its events. One of the original and core ideas for the fourth film was that sixty years passed in the real world, and the resulting emotional impact on Neo that almost everyone he knew is gone, even simply of old age. The new Morpheus-program made by Neo's subconscious memories was tentatively written with the option that Fishburne might even re-appear in the role, but he was unavailable, so they then followed their backup plan to simply cast a younger actor. Similarly, the presence or absence of Hugo Weaving did not affect the decision for Agent Smith to be revived in the fourth film: they hoped the original actor might be available, but he had a scheduling conflict, so a younger actor was cast as a new "shell" for the program.[1]

The interview the co-screenwriters gave clarified that the Morpheus-program created by Neo's modal simulation was actually one of the first and core ideas that Lana Wachowski had for a sequel film: "She said she saw that opening scene in her mind in the middle of the night, one night in Chicago, and described it to me and to us. This modal little world which Thomas Anderson, Neo, has constructed for himself to be reminded of what he might have lost and what he used to be. Eventually, out of that world, the Morpheus comes."[2] Essentially, Lana said that she was inspired to make a new Matrix film after the death of both of her parents right after each other, to deal with the grief. She then came up with the idea that in parallel to this, Neo had been resurrected by the Machines and plugged back into the Matrix, with his memory blocked, and so much time had passed that almost everyone he knew had died. But though Neo had seemingly lost everything, his memories of his dear departed mentor Morpheus would always be with him and always be part of him - subconsciously guiding him to create a modal-simulation based on his half-remembered dreams which ultimately allowed him to escape.

The name "Morpheus" is mythological name for the "lord of dreams", and now ironically the new "Morpheus" program originated as literally a dream, a creation of Neo's subconscious.

Morpheus's fate as revealed in The Matrix Resurrections slightly contradicts what happened to him in The Matrix Online MMORPG (2005-2009) - yet in broad strokes they are surprisingly similar. In both versions, Morpheus is actually killed in a violation of the Truce, but later a sentient program arises in the Matrix using Morpheus's old RSI (digital appearance), who allies with the humans.

Gallery[]

The Matrix[]

The Matrix Reloaded[]

References[]

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