Architect (The Matrix)
||This article describes a work or element of fiction in a primarily in-universe style. (February 2009)|
|The Matrix character|
|First appearance||The Matrix Reloaded|
|Created by||The Wachowskis|
|Portrayed by||Helmut Bakaitis|
|Title||Creator of the Matrix|
Constructing the First Matrices
The Architect created the first Matrix as a utopia for the humans whose minds inhabited it. However, the human minds rejected this first attempt as a perfect world and beta 1 of the Matrix crashed. A second attempt added "vulgarities" of human nature and a basic cause and effect, but this beta was also a failure. The Architect turned to a more intuitive program designed to understand human nature and psychology to augment the framework of the next Matrix. This time, the power of choice was added to the programming, where humans would be allowed the power to choose, even if the person was only aware of the choice on a vague, unconscious level.
This version of the Matrix worked, except for approximately 1 percent of human minds. These humans were apparently bodily ejected from the power plant. Some of these humans survived to join Zion.
The Architect noted that the Matrix was not as perfect as he initially invisioned; the addition of 'choice' to the Matrix' programming added an unpredictable element to the Architect's equations and would eventually cause the Matrix to suffer a destructive system crash. This 'systemic anomaly' was personified within the Matrix by a semi-mythological figure that could 'break free' of the Matrix' control, and change it in whatever manner he desired. The 'One', as this figure came to be known, was subconsciously compelled to travel to the Matrix' mainframe with critical source code for its eventual reboot.
A New Matrix
Together with the human intuitive program (which could be considered the "mother" of the Matrix as the Architect could be considered the "father"), the concept of the Prophecy was formed. The intuitive program (known to the humans as the Oracle) would tell of this story to the small members of a human resistance that periodically infiltrated the Matrix, who would find the anomaly and help him to find the Architect's hidden room deep within a fortified building. There, the Architect would use his measures of control to keep the Anomaly, and in turn both Zion and the Matrix, in check. In each of the first five cycles of the Matrix, the Anomaly, known to the humans as The One, would manifest itself within the Matrix and eventually find the Architect and his hidden lair. There, the Architect presents The One with two doors of exit. One door leads to the Source. The second door returns to the Matrix proper. The Architect tells the One that, while they converse, Zion is about to be utterly and totally destroyed. He states that the function of The One is to save humanity. Given that the only remaining humans (after Zion's destruction) remain in the Matrix, failure to enter the door to the Source will lead to an eventual catastrophic system crash of the Matrix, killing its human inhabitants and effectively annihilating humanity as a species. The Architect instructs The One to select a small number of humans for the purpose of rebuilding Zion. In each of these cycles, The One enters the door to the Source, the Matrix is reloaded, and Zion dies and is reborn at The One's mentorship.
The Sixth One
On the sixth iteration, Neo, the sixth Anomaly, appears on schedule before the Architect. The Architect is surprised that this One, unlike his predecessors, is quicker of thought. This sixth Anomaly possesses the same dispensation for protecting humanity as the others, but unlike the other Ones has a deep attachment to one human: a Zion resistance member named Trinity.
The Architect delivers the usual speech and threat, but he can already see that this One will not comply as his predecessors did. Neo leaves the Architect to save his love, and leaves the future of the Matrix in doubt.
The Oracle tells Neo more about the Architect at their final meeting. She says that the Architect's purpose is to balance the equation of the Matrix, while her purpose is to unbalance that equation. She also tells Neo that, as a program designed to be mathematically precise, the Architect doesn't understand the inherently-unpredictable nature of choice. She tells Neo to head to the true location of the Source, the Machine City, to save not only humanity, but the Machine world as well.
After Neo sacrifices himself to stabilize the Matrix, the Machines gather Neo's body and successfully 'reboot' the Matrix. The Architect then meets the Oracle and speaks of the "dangerous game" that she played, and agrees to honor the truce that Neo brokered for his part in rebooting the Matrix.
Near the climax of The Matrix Reloaded, Neo meets the Architect face to face in a large oval-shaped room with two doors, whose walls are covered with television monitors. (A close-up of these monitors is briefly seen early in The Matrix, but is not identified as such at the time.) Taking the form of a cold, humorless, white-haired man in a light gray suit, he is a computer program that created the Matrix and now oversees its functioning. His artificial nature is more readily apparent than that of other programs personified as humans. The Architect is extremely mechanical in his actions, in that he speaks in long logical chains of reasoning, utilizing several connectors (discourse markers) such as "ergo", "concordantly", and "thus", and has little variance in his tone of voice. He also has little facial expression beyond smirks and glares, but does exhibit emotion on limited occasions, such as regret, annoyance and arrogance.
The Architect's first attempt at a Matrix was a utopia, but it failed miserably and many human lives were lost when the inhabitants refused to accept it. The Architect then redesigned the Matrix to reflect the darker side of human nature and history, but the dystopian version failed too. The solution to this problem was discovered by the Oracle: a version of the Matrix that gave humans the unconscious choice of accepting it. This version was accepted by ninety-nine percent of the Matrix' test subjects, and the Matrix was rewritten to allow for freedom of choice. The remaining one percent, that did not accept the Matrix, would eventually destabilize the system so badly that the Matrix might catastrophically crash, killing every human that was still connected.
In The Matrix Revolutions, the Oracle explains to Neo that the true purpose of the Architect is to balance the mathematical equations that make up the programming of the Matrix, and he is unable to see the world as anything beyond a series of equations. It is also because of this that he is unable to comprehend choice and free will and cannot see the results of such choices as they are no more than variable factors in an equation to him.
With the new Matrix in place, a system was enacted to control the inhabitants who refused to accept it. While the Oracle was able to guide the actions of the humans who left the Matrix through prophecy, it was the Architect who programmed The One that would fulfill these prophecies. The One was made carrying not only the source code of the Matrix "Prime Program", which gave him his outstanding powers over the Matrix, but also with a profound attachment to humanity that would later motivate him to fulfill the prophecies being spread by the Oracle. Every time the free humans had grown strong enough to start threatening machine hegemony, The One would be born into the Matrix.
As the prophecies were fulfilled by The One, the machines would begin building an army to destroy Zion. Under the guidance of the Oracle, The One would find his way to the machine mainframe, also called The Source, convinced that his actions there would end the war on behalf of the humans. Because the Architect resides in a room that lies on the path to the Source, the One would invariably encounter him along the way. During this encounter, the Architect would reveal his influence over the preceding events and the reason the Matrix had been designed to allow a small percentage of its inhabitants to escape. He would then present The One with a choice, symbolized by the two doors in his office:
- He may return to the Source, at which point the Matrix source code would be reinserted into the program, allowing for the system to reboot. Zion is still destroyed and people are still trapped in the Matrix, but the One would be allowed to select seven males and sixteen females (making a total of twenty-three individuals) from the Matrix to be freed so that they could found a new Zion. The One would then die, and a prophecy of his return would be spread, continuing the cycle.
- He may refuse to cooperate and return to the Matrix in an attempt to save Zion. This would lead to a massive system crash, killing all of the inhabitants of the Matrix. Combined with the inevitable destruction of Zion, this would ultimately mean the extinction of humanity.
The machinations of the Architect and the Oracle were successful in maintaining the status quo to the point that, until Neo, all incarnations of The One had chosen to cooperate with the Machines in order to preserve humanity.
The Matrix Reloaded
In The Matrix Reloaded, The Architect offered Neo the same choice he offered his five predecessors. Unlike previous Ones, Neo was experiencing his programmed attachment to humanity in a specific way: in his love for Trinity. At the same time Neo had met with the Architect, Trinity was in the Matrix being chased by an Agent in a reenactment of a nightmare Neo had that ended with her apparent death.
During their conversation, Neo claims that the machines cannot allow humanity to be destroyed as they are using them for power and thus could not survive if they were killed. In response, the Architect, although his face remains unmoved, states in a grave voice, "There are levels of survival we are prepared to accept."
Presented with a choice between the destruction of humanity or losing Trinity, Neo sees no choice. Motivated by his love for Trinity and not wanting to play into The Architect's ultimatum like his predecessors, he defies The Architect and chooses to attempt to save Trinity. Even though the Architect had asserted that her death was certain and his attempt to save her would mean doom for all humanity he returns to the Matrix in an attempt to save her and end the machines' control of humanity.
Before Neo departs he warns The Architect, "If I were you, I'd hope we never meet again." The Architect simply replies, "We won't."
The Matrix Revolutions
In the final scene of the film, the Architect joins the Oracle, commenting that she "played a very dangerous game", referring to the Oracle's role in guiding Neo as he defied the Architect's system of control. He then promises her that the humans who desire release from the Matrix will gain it. When she asks if he will keep his word he replies, "What do you think I am? Human? "
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