Poetry: Ruth, Chapter 4

And so we come to the final chapter of the Book of Ruth which recounts the tale of the romance of great-grandparents of king David of Israel, the ancestors of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, God the Son. In chapter 1 we saw how Naomi brought Ruth, her daughter-in-law, to the Land of Promise after the deaths of both their husbands. The story continued in chapter 2 where we witnessed the meeting of Boaz and Ruth as she and her mother-in-law struggle to make ends-meet. He is kind to her. In chapter 3 Ruth goes to Boaz late at night to ask him to take up their cause and redeem her and her mother-in-law. The story concludes in chapter 4.

The tale of Ruth and Boaz’s love and God’s orchestration was put to verse by John Bunyan (1628-1688), the author of The Pilgrim’s Progress and of many other poems, books and tracts.

RUTH – CHAP. IV.

And Boaz went up to the city gate,

And after a short space, while there he sate,

The kinsman of whom he had spoke, came by,

To whom he said, Ho, [‹1.6›] such a one, draw nigh,

And sit down here. He came and sat him down.

Then he took ten men, elders of the town,

And caused them to sit down. Then to the man

That was of kin, thus he his speech began,

Naomi, said he, who not long since sojourn’d

Among the Moabites, is now return’d;

And doth intend to sell a piece of ground,

The which Elimelech our brother own’d.

And now to give thee notice, I thought fit,

That if thou pleasest, thou may’st purchase it.

In presence of these men assembled here.

Then if thou wilt redeem it, now declare

Thy mind, but if thou wilt not, then let me,

For thou art next of kin, and I next thee.

Then said the kinsman, I will it redeem.

Boaz reply’d, if good to thee it seem,

To buy it of the hand of Naomi,

Thou also art obliged the same to buy

Of Ruth the Moabitess, wife o’ th’ dead;

On his inheritance to raise up seed.

The kinsman said, I cannot do this thing

Myself, lest I an inconvenience bring

Upon mine own inheritance, what’s mine

By right, therefore I now to thee resign.

Now this in Israel did a custom stand,

Concerning changing and redeeming land;

To put all controversy to an end,

A man pluck’d off his shoe, and gave his friend;

And this in Israel was an evidence,

When e’er they changed an inheritance.

Then said the kinsman unto Boaz, do

Thou take my right. And off he pluck’d his shoe.

Then Boaz to the elders thus did say

And to the people, all of you this day

Appear for me as witnesses, that I

Have bought all of the land of Naomi,

That was Elimelech’s or did belong

Either to Mahlon or to Chilion:

And Ruth the Moabitess, who some time

Was Mahlon’s wife, I’ve purchas’d to be mine,

Still to preserve alive the dead man’s name

On his inheritance, lest that the same

Should in the gate where he inhabited,

Or ‘mongst his brethren be extinguished:

Behold, this day, my witnesses you are.

Then all the people that were present there,

And elders said, We are thy witnesses:

May God this woman thou hast taken bless,

That she, like Rachel, and like Leah be,

Which two did build up Israel’s family:

And thou in Ephratah exalt thy name,

And through the town of Bethl’hem spread thy fame;

And may the seed which God shall give to thee

Of this young woman, full as prosperous be,

As was the house of Pharez heretofore,

(Pharez, whom Tamar unto Judah bore.)

So he took Ruth, and as his wife he knew her,

And God was pleased, when he went in to her

To grant the blessing of conception,

And she accordingly bare him a son.

Then said the woman, Blessed be the Lord!

Bless thou him Naomi, who doth afford

To thee this day a kinsman, which shall be

Famous in Israel; and shall be to thee

As the restorer of thy life again,

And in thy drooping age shall thee sustain:

For that thy daughter-in-law, who loves thee well

And in thy sight doth seven sons excel,

Hath born this child. Then Naomi took the boy

To nurse; and did him in her bosom lay.

Her neighbours too, gave him a name, for why,

This son, say they, is born to Naomi:

They called him Obed, from whose loins did spring

Jesse, the sire of David, Israel’s king.

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Poetry: Ruth, Chapter 3

On Monday, we read chapter 1 of the Book of Ruth. The story follows the meeting of Ruth and Boaz, the great-grandparents of king David of Israel and the ancestors of Jesus Christ. In chapter 1 we read about how Ruth came to the Land of Israel while in chapter 2 we witnessed the meeting of Boaz and Ruth. The love story continues in chapter 3 as we read John Bunyan’s versification of the story of these star-crossed lovers (these terms I use quite loosely).

RUTH – CHAP. III.

Then Naomi said, Shall I not, my daughter,

Seek rest for thee, that thou do well hereafter?

And is not Boaz, with whose maids thou wast,

One of the nearest kinsmen that thou hast?

Behold, this night he in his threshing floor

Is winnowing Barley, wash thyself therefore,

Anoint thee, put thy clothes on, and get down

Unto the floor; but make not thyself known,

Till he hath eat and drank, and shall prepare

To lie him down; then take good notice where

He goes about to take his night’s repose,

And go thou in there, and lift up the clothes

From off his feet, and likewise lay thee down,

And what thou hast to do he will make known.

And she made answer, Whatsoever thou

Hast me commanded, will I gladly do.

And down unto the floor she hasted, and

Forthwith fulfilled her mother-in-law’s command.

So now when Boaz had his heart refresh’d,

With meat and drink, he laid him down to rest,

Near to the heap of corn; she softly came,

Uncover’d’s feet, and lay down by the same.

And, lo! at midnight, as he turn’d him round,

He was afraid, for at his feet he found

A woman lay. Who art thou? then said he.

I am thine handmaid Ruth, replied she,

Over thine handmaid therefore spread thy skirt,

I pray, because thou a near kinsman art.

Blessed be thou, said he, because thou hast

Made manifest more kindness at the last,

Than at the first, in that thou did’st, my daughter,

No young men, whether poor or rich, go after.

And now, my daughter, be not thou afraid,

I will do to thee all that thou hast said:

For all the city of my people knows,

Thou art a woman truly virtuous;

And now though I am kin and undoubtedly,

Yet there is one that’s nearer kin than I.

Tarry this night, and when ’tis morning light,

If he will like a kinsman, do thee right,

We’ll let him, but if not, I myself will,

As the Lord lives; till morning lie thou still.

And till the morning at his feet she lay,

And then arose about the break of day;

And he gave her a charge, not to declare

That there had any womankind been there.

He also said, bring here thy veil, and hold

To me; she did, and thereinto he told

Six measures full of barley, and did lay

It on her, and she hasted thence away.

And when unto her mother-in-law she came,

Art thou, said she, my daughter come again?

Then what the man had done she told, and said,

He these six measures full of barley laid

Upon me, for said he, This I bestow,

Lest to thy mother thou should’st empty go.

Then, said she, sit still daughter, till thou see

What the event of this intrigue will be;

For till the man this day hath made an end,

No satisfaction will on him attend.

Poetry: Ruth, Chapter 2

We’re reading John Bunyan’s versification of the Book of Ruth found in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles. In chapter 1 we saw Naomi and Ruth leave Moab upon hearing that the drought in Israel ended. Naomi took Ruth, her daughter-in-law, with her to Israel after much protest on Naomi’s side. Both their husbands and Naomi’s other son died in Moab. Naomi, now called Mara due to the bitterness she experienced in life, encouraged her daughter-in-law to glean some wheat from the fields to put food on their table. And so the story continues…

In Chapter 1 we saw the The story of Ruth’s introduction into Israelite society continues.

RUTH – CHAP. II.

There was a man of kin to Naomi,

One that was of her husband’s family,

His name was Boaz, and his wealth was great.

And Ruth, the Moabitess, did intreat

Her Mother’s leave, that she might go, and gather

Some ears of corn, where she should most find favour:

Go, daughter, go, said she. She went and came

Near to the reapers, to glean after them:

And lo, it was her hap to light among

The reapers, which to Boaz did belong.

Behold, now Boaz came from Bethlehem

Unto his reapers, and saluted them,

And they bless’d him again: and he enquired

Of him that was set over them he hired,

From whence the damsel was, and was inform’d

She was the Moabitess that return’d

With Naomi: and she did ask, said he,

That here amongst the reapers she might be,

And that she might have liberty to glean

Among the sheaves. And she all day hath been,

Ev’n from the morning until now, with us,

That she hath stay’d a little in the house.

Then Boaz said to Ruth, observe, my daughter,

That thou go not from hence, or follow after

The reapers of another field, but where

My maidens are, see that thou tarry there:

Observe what field they reap, and go thou there,

Have I not charged the young men to forbear

To touch thee? And when thou dost thirst, approach

And drink of what the youths have set abroach. [‹1.4›]

Then she fell on her face, and to the ground

She bow’d herself, and said, Why have I found

Such favour in thine eyes; that thou, to me

Who am a stranger, should so courteous be?

And Boaz said, it hath been fully shewn

To me, what to thy mother-in-law thou’st done,

Since of thine husband thou hast been bereft:

How thou thy father and thy mother left,

And thine own native land; to come unto

A land which thou before didst never know:

The Lord, the God of Israel, the defence

Whom now thou’st chosen, be thy recompence.

Then said she, let me in thy sight, my lord,

Find favour in that thou dost thus afford

Me comfort, and since thou so kind to me

Dost speak, though I thereof unworthy be.

And Boaz said, at meal time come thou near,

Eat of the bread, and dip i’ th’ vinegar.

And by the reapers she sat down to meat,

He gave her parched corn, and she did eat,

And was suffic’d; and left, and rose to glean:

And Boaz gave command to the young men,

Let her come in among the sheaves, said he,

To glean, and let her not reproached be.

Let fall some handfuls also purposely,

And let her take them without injury.

So she till even glean’d , and then beat out

Her barley, being an ephah [‹1.5›] or thereabout.

She took it up, and to the city went,

And to her mother-in-law did it present:

And what she had reserv’d to her she gave,

When she had took what she design’d to have.

Then unto her, her mother-in-law did say,

In what field hast thou been to glean to-day?

And where hast thou been working? Blest be he,

That thus hath taken cognizance of thee.

She told with whom, and furthermore did say,

The man’s name’s Boaz, where I wrought to-day.

And Naomi replied, may he be blest,

Even of the Lord, whose kindness manifest

Unto the living and the dead hath been:

The man’s our kinsman, yea, the next of kin.

And Ruth, the Moabitess, said, he gave

Me likewise a commandment not to leave,

Or to depart from following his young men,

Until they had brought all his harvest in.

And Naomi said unto Ruth, my daughter,

‘Tis good that thou observe to follow after

His maidens, that they meet thee not elsewhere.

So she to Boaz’s maidens still kept near,

Till barley and wheat harvest both, she saw

Were done, and she dwelt with her mother-in-law.

Poetry: Ruth, Chapter 1

The author of this poem is John Bunyan (1628-1688), an English Protestant minister and author of The Pilgrim’s Progress. He versified the Book of Ruth in the Bible just for the fun of it. The Book of Ruth tells the story of king David’s great-grandmother who followed her mother-in-law Naomi back to the Land of Israel after the deaths of their husbands. I am tempted to summarise the story, but you will have to either read the account in the Bible or the narrative poem presented here. So, here is Chapter 1.

CHAP. I.

In ancient times, e’er Israel knew the way

Of kingly power, when judges bore the sway:

A certain man of Bethlehem Juda fled,

By reason of a famine that o’erspread

The land, into the land of Moab, where

He and his wife, and sons, sojourners were.

His name Elimelech, his eldest son

Was called Mahlon, t’other Chilion,

His wife was Naomi, Ephrathites they were:

They went to Moab and continued there:

Where of her husband Naomi was bereft,

And only she and her two sons were left:

Who took them wives of Moab in their youth.

The name of one was Orpah, t’other Ruth:

And there they died ere twice five years were gone;

And Naomi was wholly left alone.

Then she arose, and her step-daughters with her,

To leave the land of Moab altogether:

For she had heard the Lord had visited

Her native country, with increase of bread,

Wherefore the land of Moab she forsook,

And to her native place her course she took,

Her daughters with her: whom she did desire,

That to their mother’s house they would retire.

The Lord, said she, be kind to you again,

As you to me, and to the dead have been.

God grant you each may be with husbands blest,

And in the enjoyment of them both find rest,

Then she embraced them, and there withal,

Down from their cheeks, the tears began to fall.

They wept aloud, and said, Most surely we

Unto thy people will return with thee.

But Naomi replied, Wherefore will ye,

My daughters, thus resolve to go with me?

Are there yet any more sons in my womb,

That may your husbands be in time to come?

Return again, my daughters, go your way,

For I’m too old to marry: should I say

I’ve hope? Should I this night conceive a son?

Would either of you stay till he is grown?

Would you so long without an husband [‹1.3›] live?

Nay, nay, my daughters, for it doth me grieve

Exceedingly, even for your sakes, that I

Do under this so great affliction lie.

And here they wept again. And Orpah kiss’d

Her mother, But Ruth would be not dismiss’d

But clave unto her: unto whom she spake

And said, Behold, thy sister is gone back,

With her own gods, and people to abide,

Go thou along with her. But Ruth replied,

Intreat me not to leave thee, or return:

For where thou goest, I’ll go, where thou sojourn,

I’ll sojourn also. And what people’s thine,

And who thy God, the same shall both be mine.

Where thou shalt die, there will I die likewise,

And I’ll be buried where thy body lies.

The Lord do so to me, and more, if I

Do leave thee, or forsake thee till I die.

And when she saw the purpose of her heart,

She left off to desire her to depart.

So they two travelled along together

To Bethlehem, and when they were come thither,

Behold! the people were surprised, and cried,

What, is this Naomi? But she replied,

Oh! call me Mara, and not Naomi;

For I have been afflicted bitterly.

I went out from you full, but now I come,

As it hath pleased God, quite empty home:

Why then call ye me Naomi? Since I

Have been afflicted so exceedingly.

So Naomi return’d, and Ruth together,

Who had come from the land of Moab with her:

And unto Bethlem Judah did they come,

Just as the Barley Harvest was begun.

The Fight

Samson squeezing two pillars in a Philistine Temple

Samson bringing the house down

And now a story I shall write;
It shall be about a fight:
In Israel a man there was
With arms of steel, heart of brass
Battle-hardened stripes had he
Many sprung from trickery.
Hair as long as he was tall,
His weapon once a donkey’s jaw.
What fame he held
As he Philistines felled;
In vengeance and passion
They died in like fashion.
That is, until a woman he met.
To win her love he made a misstep,
Confiding in her where lies his strength.
So her people him to naught did rend;
For she shaved his locks of dread
And he to the Philistines was fed.
The Spirit of God from him departed
Until his faith anew was started.
His gauged out eyes deterred him not
As a servant boy led him to a spot
Between two columns he rested his arms
He prayed, the Philistines stayed unalarmed,
Then he squeezed the two columns
Turning a jovial moment solemn.
Thus, in the end, he won the fight
A man’s strength lies not in his might,
Neither in his passion nor in fashion
But being the Lord’s dearest possession.

Music Monday – One More Time (from Playful Kiss)

One More Time is the theme song of the 2010 South Korean romantic comedy Playfull Kiss starring Jung So-min and Kim Hyun-joong, a K-pop singer.

Playfull Kiss is based on the Japanese manga Itazura Na Kiss. The TV series did not get much acclaim in South Korea as it did in Taiwan, the Philippines, Singapore, the Middle East and Japan. It even engendered a cult following in Taiwan.

The Japanese made the TV into a film with Japanese subtitles. They kept the original Korean dubbing. The film was released in selected cinemas in Tokyo and Osaka.

Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Playful_Kiss

Book Review – Prophet: a novel by Frank E. Peretti

Prophet by Frank E. Peretti

Prophet: a novel

Imagine having your world shaken to the point where you don’t know what’s right and what’s wrong. Imagine having to choose the wrong just so that you don’t have to acknowledge your mistake. Imagine having to control co-workers and the stories they pursue just so that your conscience can remain violated and your secret remain undiscovered. For some people, like Tina Lewis, this is reality although they would never admit this little fact to themselves—let alone to others.

Tina Lewis, a character in Frank E. Peretti’s Prophet, is a content manager at NewsSix, the news department of Channel 6. Falling in league with the devil, she tries to suppress a story that would weaken Governor Hiram Slater’s chances of re-election. But John Barrett Jr. is determined to have the truth come out. John Barrett lost his religious kook of a father in the fight for the truth and would lose his estranged son if he did not take a stand and see the Truth prevail. In the process he sees through Tina hearing her cries and those of the City, shares his deceased father’s pain, reconciles with God, accepts his destiny and sees justice served at a cost to the chagrin of Tina Lewis and associates.

Never before have I encountered a story that is so real and has such depth. Although Peretti doesn’t delve deep into a character’s history as Lionel Trilling in The Middle of the Journey or Netta Musket in A Daughter for Julia, he does an excellent job at characterisation, communicating the characters’ backstories and their growth on the various issues explored in the novel. One of those issues being abortion as well as the privacy laws that allow minors to have abortions without parental consent or knowledge and the malpractice the secrecy engenders.

Peretti goes into a lot of detail sometimes repeating scenes and cues in the newsroom that the reader was already familiar with. Peretti spent a great amount of time describing the layout of the room and how the other reporters in the room were editing their news packages before John Barrett entered the room to edit the story he was working on. That said, he described the workings of a news room set in 1991 very well. If you did know how news gathering, sifting and broadcasting worked, you’ll have a better idea after reading this book.

His details made the story real to me. The main characters were well-crafted, the plot gripping, the gospel presentation well done, and most definitely thought provoking. One thing he set out to achieve was to have his readers consider where they stand on the issues of abortion, human rights, their relationship with Jesus, and the masks they wear. The supernatural dimension of the book was a bonus and quite refreshing for someone drawn to the supernatural and well-versed in science fiction and fantasy. Peretti also made use of different points of view not restricting himself to only telling the story from John Barretts’ perspective. At critical moments he switches views or uses John’s prophetic gift to give the reader insight into the reactions or motivations of the characters involved in a particular scene.

Prophet is 575 pages long (excluding the front and back matter) and could most probably have been cut by 10 to 15 pages due to the amount of detail. The book was published in 1992 by Living Books, a registered trademark of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

If you are into the fantasy, science fiction, or religious fiction, get your hands on a copy of this book. Peretti presents both sides of the abortion issue and some insight into the influence the media has on our behaviour and the choices we make. I recommend this novel to anyone interested in learning more. And if you just want to take a break from your regular diet of (genre) fiction, read Prophet. It will make you think.

Music Monday – Hey There Delilah

I can still remember the first time I heard this song by Plain White T’s. It was the soundtrack for a life insurance TV commercial which demonstrated the song’s story.

Now, HeyThere Delilah is a love song written by love struck Tom Higgenson, the lead singer of Plain White T’s, to Delilah DiCrescenzo, an American 3000 meter steeplechase runner. In short, a friend introduced Tom to Delilah. He fell in love with her immediately but suffered from unrequited love because she had a boyfriend. He promised to write a song about her.

According to Today.com, he wrote the song long before it became famous. Plain White T’s performed it in clubs before it was introduced into mainstream music where it steadily climbed the charts. In 2007 Hey There Delilah reach number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was nominated for the Grammy Song of the Year Award.

You can read the rest of the story behind the song at Today.com and at Wikipedia.org.

Winds of Change: 360-356 Days To Go

Today (356 DTG (days to go)) I finished an article for next month’s update/edition of the website I write for. It wasn’t one of my best because I tried to find information on the link between two conditions in the scientific literature but found conflicting results. I am also under a lot pressure at work because I’m heading back to the lab next month. But I finished the first draft of the article.

Thought control

I also struggled to keep my thoughts under control as they tried to run off to start a new story about dragons, magic and the human descendants of those dragons who control the elements. My inspiration for this story, or this world I tried to invent, came from the research I did for a sculpture I will make.

The golden thread of truth

I also made the mistake of reading about Greek mythology. As much as I tried to find some coherency, some morality, some semblance of truth, or the golden thread of truth, I just couldn’t find any. Take the story of Arachne and Athena, for example. Arachne, Athena’s best student in her weaving school, became conceited. She boasted that she weaved better than the goddess. So, the gods arranged a contest in which the two could weave a tapestry on any theme. Athena wove about beauty, I think, while Arachne chose the gods’ sexcapades. Infuriated by Arachne’s choice of topic, Athena transformed her into a giant spider. Now my question is, why the double standard? Why be angry at a mortal for showing the rest of the gods what everyone knows to be “true”? Why not hold the gods responsible for their mistakes, if they are mistakes? Why are their gods so petty, envious, short tempered, mischievous, lecherous, debauched, cruel, etc.? Aren’t they supposed to be better than humans?

So, throughout the past couple of days, I’ve been reading about dragons, Greek/Roman dragons and the myths that surround them as well as their morphology and anatomy. (You now have a clue of one of the components of the sculpture I will make.)

A Daughter for Julia

In desperation to change the kind of stories I think up, I decided to spend 30 minutes every day reading a novel. Everything else I read is non-fiction or research based. So, today I began reading A Daughter for Julia by Netta Muskett.

On the porn front

On the porn front things are going well. The desire to look at pictures of naked people surfaced today and yesterday as I stressed about my work, the upcoming church youth camp, and the mini-campaign/prayer meeting series that follows the camp. To take a break from writing or just to clear my head, I performed some Flickr searches on bodies of water (waterfalls and lakes) and the activities surround them (swimming, jumping, diving, not bathing or showering), saw some dubious pics which I skipped passed them as quickly as I could.

On Sunday (359 DTG) I had a wet dream. (For those of you who have recently discovered my blog, I record the wet dreams I have to see how circumstances (physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, sexual and environmental) affect their frequency.)

So, things are going well. My relationship with God is good and He is helping me with my career and otherwise. Knowing that Frank (not his real name), my accountability partner, is rooting for me means a lot.

Seeking discipline

Right now, I’m trying to be more disciplined with stuff by making work now, play later my motto. I started today and it was tough! But, Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither does discipline. Or as I like to say, “Something that’s ‘worth the effort’ doesn’t come without effort.”

Strange as it may sound, I think I have to win my trust first that there will be “play time” before I’m into a disciplined lifestyle with all my heart and soul. Therefore, I have introduced little “rituals” into my life such as brushing my teeth every night, moisturising my skin, spending time with God at the same time every night, getting a full night’s rest, reading a part of a novel for 30 minutes everyday when I get home, etc. I tried to make myself more disciplined a couple of years ago but failed quite dismally. I even made a chart, laminated it and recorded my faithfulness. Somehow it was easier to be disciplined in school.

So, that sums up the past few days for me. Hope you have a GREAT Easter weekend! Mine starts tomorrow after work.

The Matrix: Reloaded Revisited

Even though this post is not a work of genius (although I wouldn’t mind if it was), I feel compelled to write and share some of the stuff I picked up while watching The Matrix: Reloaded last night.

A few major events

The Matrix: Reloaded is the sequel to The Matrix and the second film of the trilogy. For a summary of the plot, you can read a synopsis here.

In short, in this film, Neo finds out that the Oracle is a program and is part of the Matrix, she helps him find the Architect–an AI program that designs the Matrix. The Architect answers Neo’s questions concerning the Matrix and his purpose. Agent Smith goes viral copying himself into a lot of people with the aim of killing Neo. We also see Neo save Trinity from death in a classic Superman and Lois Lane scenario. Zion is attacked by sentinels and its inhabitants slaughtered. A few ships survive Zion.

Themes

During the course of the film I picked up on the following themes. The film is rich in literary themes and the plot is well worked out.

1. Purpose. The whole trilogy of The Matrix movies centres around purpose specifically Neo’s. What is Neo meant to do?

2. Identity. Closely linked to purpose, the question of identity is one of the main driving forces of the film. In fact, it’s this search for identity that got Neo involved with Morpheus in the first place.

3. Truth. The two preceding themes are only two truths that drive us. In the first film, the reality of the virtual world is called into question. After Neo meets the Architect of the Matrix who explains Neo’s and the Matrix’s purposes to him, he realises that the prophecy is a lie. The Matrix is in its sixth incarnation as is Neo as the Machines grapple with understanding free will. Neo reveals to Morpheus the falseness of the prophecy towards the end of the film.

4. Self-sacrifice. A superhero movie would not be one if the hero impulse was not touched one or exploited. At the end of his meeting with the Architect, Neo is faced with the classic challenge of having to choose between saving the girl and saving the masses. He makes the unconventional choice of saving the girl.

5. Love. This theme is expressed through self-sacrifice. But Neo and Trinity’s love for each other drives and complicates the film too. It serves as good entertainment.

6. Choice. The problem of free will as revealed in Neo’s conversation with the Architect is something the Machines cannot understand. It is something the we humans cannot understand too. Everything in the film is driven by choice. It’s seen that even Mr Smith was given the ability to choose. (He chose to become a rogue program and to copy himself into a human-cyborg hybrid.) That said, predestination is rears its head too since Neo, we see, was designed to be the One. Morpheus was chosen to be Neo’s guide and Trinity our hero’s love interest. Neo was designed to be the anomaly born out of the sum total of all the wrong choices the citizens of the Matrix made. Neo’s existence was inevitable.

7. Belief. The more Neo knows about himself, the stronger he becomes. Everyone in the film believes something. Purpose and truth are only two things in which belief is manifested.

8. Understanding & knowledge. Although not always the same, the desire to know why things are the way they are, why Neo exists, why the Matrix exists, why Mr Smith keeps popping up, why Zion is being destroyed, and so forth, pervades the whole film. The Matrix exists to understand why the human race acted the way they did and to understand free will.

9. Fear. The fears of death and ignorance pervades the whole film. These are the most human of all fears.

10. Struggle for supremacy and freedom. These aren’t necessarily one and the same but in this “outside world” of the film, they are. The human race are subjects of the Machines. Their fight for freedom is limited by their fight for survival although one could say that their fight for survival is a fight to maintain their freedom. But what they do not know is that the Machines are controlling them giving the humans just enough scope to live but not enough to thrive. It is portrayed as if the humans and the Machines are in a war when the reality is the Machines have already won the war. The outside world is a controlled environment. Mr Smith’s obsession with killing Neo is another way in which the theme of supremacy is illustrated in the film.

The altruism test

One thing was clear, you had to listen carefully to what was said and what was not said. You had to listen carefully to Neo’s conversation with the Architect. At the end, Neo choosing to save Trinity should come as no surprise at all since whether he chose to save the masses then and there by his death or not, he was destined to die and so was Zion. His death was inevitable as was Zion’s. At Neo’s death, his body would be carried to the Source where his data would be downloaded and used to refine the seventh incarnation of the Matrix. A few humans would be released into the world driven by the need to build Zion. And the whole thing will start again.

Ties with Christianity

The whole trilogy seen from a theological perspective becomes even more interesting. Since Neo represents a Christ-figure, Morpheus John the Baptist, and Trinity Mary Magdalene (taken from The Da Vinci Code). Neo is the sum total of the bad choices and violence of humanity just like Jesus took the sins of humanity upon Him to die a vicarious death. The names of the people, places and ships hold a lot theological significance too.

The ultimate question

But the fundamental question is: why build the Matrix? Why do the aliens go to such lengths to destroy a society only to build a model to try and understand it? (I don’t know whether these question were ever answered in the trilogy.)

Conclusion

Fear, love, death, faith, freedom, control, choice and truth are the fundamental these the film explored. The Matrix is rich in symbolism and philosophy and superbly combines and explores the most important literary themes and truths. This, I think, is what made it a great success in addition to the media hype about it. The media played an integral role in promoting The Matrix trilogy using a human interest story to draw attention to it. The controversy and consternation the films created in the Christian community added to the films’ popularity.

As I said before, these are just a few observations I made while watching The Matrix: Reloaded last night. They aren’t worth much and only reflect the sense I’m trying to make of the world and of the movie.

What did you think about The Matrix: Reloaded and The Matrix trilogy as a whole?