Agent (The Matrix)
Agents are a group of characters in The Matrix franchise. They are sentient computer programs carefully disguised as average-looking human males, displaying a high-level of artificial intelligence.
|The Matrix character|
From left to right: Agents Brown, Smith, and Jones
|First appearance||The Matrix (1999)|
|Last appearance||The Matrix: Path of Neo (2005)|
|Created by||The Wachowskis|
|Portrayed by||Hugo Weaving, Robert Taylor, Paul Goddard|
Agents are representatives within the Matrix fictional universe. They are guardians within the computer-generated world of the Matrix, protecting it from anyone or anything (most often Redpills) that could reveal it as a false reality or threaten it in any other way.
Agents also hunt down and terminate any rogue programs, such as The Keymaker, which no longer serve a purpose to the overall Machine objective. They physically appear human but have a tendency to speak and act in highly precise and mechanical ways.
William Irwin said that the agents "are impersonal, generic and interchangeable" in contrast to the main characters who "are complex, different, and complementary".
Lisa Nakamura said of Morpheus's initiative, "A black man leads the resistance or slave revolt against the machines, who are visible to us as Anglo-Saxon 'agents' wearing suits. They all look the same, as one would expect machines to do, but most importantly they all look white and middle class in a way that no one in the resistance does." Morpheus tells Agent Smith in one scene, "You all look the same to me." Nakamura said, "Primarily, the presence of people of color in the film lets us know we are in the realm of the real; machine-induced fantasies and wish fulfillments, which is what the matrix is, are knowable to us by their distinctive and consistent whiteness." Nakamura says the agents visually represent the machines' hegemonic regime in having associations with corporations and cops. The agents wear business suits, and they are "clearly allied with the hegemonic machine". The scene in which multiple white agents beat the black Morpheus is reminiscent of Rodney King being beaten by the Los Angeles Police Department.
Stephen Faller said of the Agents that "fear seems to be the entry point", that "only when someone is afraid or startled can he or she become an unwilling Agent".
Glenn Yeffetch described the agents as "software modules within the Matrix" that "are intelligent but mindless automata", with the film having no mention of quantum computing for accessing consciousness. He said that Agent Smith saying, "It's the smell, if there's such a thing," reveals the automation in which an agent doubts that a "noncomputable quality" is real and cannot differentiate between senses, where humans can find them "irreducibly different".
- "The Matrix". Roger Ebert. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
- "The Matrix Trilogy". SparkNotes. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
- "The Matrix". Common Sense Media. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
- Hibbs, Thomas S. (2002). Irwin, William (ed.). The Matrix and Philosophy: Welcome to the Desert of the Real. Open Court Publishing. p. 164. ISBN 978-0-8126-9501-4.
- Nakamura, Lisa (2013). Cybertypes: Race, Ethnicity, and Identity on the Internet. Routledge. pp. 75–76. ISBN 978-1-135-22205-5.
- Faller, Stephen (2004). Beyond the Matrix: Revolutions and Revelations. Chalice Press. p. 90. ISBN 978-0-8272-0235-1.
- Yeffetch, Glenn (2003). Taking the Red Pill: Science, Philosophy and the Religion in The Matrix. BenBella Books, Inc. p. 123. ISBN 978-1-932100-02-0.