Studies exploring the reception and the influence of William Blake in the fields of music, cinema, graphic novels, culture and arts in general have been flourishing over the years. These studies confirm the penetration of Blake’s works and thoughts within different eras and media together with a reinterpretation of his ideas and intentions, defined as Blakean otherness by Clark, Connolly and Whittaker (2012). Moving from the poems’ flexibility and power of moulding into new forms of art, this paper sets out to track down echoes of Blakean works in the film The Matrix (1999). The film is open to infinite interpretations as it presents «many layers of intertextuality» (Gordon, 2003) that account to philosophical, historical, mythological and cultural sources, to which Blake had drawn on all the same. Furthermore, the works of William Blake as well as The Matrix’s screenplay have their foundation in the making of a “New Mythology” (Gordon, 2003). Blake’s system as well as the film’s plot unfold and display new myths - forged through the reinterpretation of old ones - aimed at depicting and communicating “reality” through art. Accordingly, I will examine the role of the filmic dream world, as opposed to the real world, since it appears to overlap the dream of Albion in Blake’s Vala, depicting a world of imagination that needs to be recovered. Moreover, I will track the striking parallels between the world of the machines in the film, who took control over the human beings, and the grey, enslaving, totalitarian universe made up by Urizen within Blake’s system. Lastly, I will analyse the role of Neo as “the One” who will liberate humanity from its mind-forged manacles. The character’s evolution will be put alongside the transformation of Orc into Luvah/Jesus. Namely, Neo and Orc take on revolution first and grow later into an intellectual battle to grasp the real essence of reality, - the real nature of the Matrix- learning to see through the eyes, not with them.
Marta Fabi is currently a PhD candidate in “Comparative Studies” - University of Rome “Tor Vergata”. She received a M.A. in Modern Languages and Literatures and has been working as a secondary school English teacher for more than a decade. Her thesis focus is on the rewriting of the Golden Age myth in William Blake’s works of the 1790s. Her research interests are: Blake, Romanticism, ESL.