Suppose Neo really is a machine or Trinity is "the one"  . . . some extra-credit work on Campbell's Monomyth and any of the following movies:   Wizard of Oz, Star Wars, or the Matrix.*

  1. Review the basic elements of Campbell's Monomyth, and show how they apply to any of the above movies.

  2. Elaborate on the issue of call and refusal of the call in any of the above.

  3. In some of these movies, information is shared about what may be the true identity of the hero(s). For example, it seems that just about anything anyone says of or to Neo in the Matrix seems to be true of him. Find, if you can, some unexplored implications of this information (e.g., what would it mean to his heroic quest for Neo to find out that “he's a machine” or cyborg; what might it mean at another level when Dorothy is told she's not in Kansas anymore; or what it might mean if Anakin Skywalker understood the weight of the prediction that he could restore the balance.)

  4. (Matrix Bonus question) Read the "Myth of the Cave" in Plato's Republic.  Does this change your interpretation of the movie or your response to any of the above questions?

  5. (Another Matrix Bonus Question) Suppose Trinity is actually "the one" in a more real realm.  How would you answer these questions then?

*Thanks are due to Mark Phelps, who pointed out connections between the Matrix and the Monomyth when he defended his Honors thesis at Le Moyne.

M. Kagan, Senior Seminar on Heroism and the Human Spirit (PHL 403), November 8, 2002

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