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What does ‘Mnemosyne’ mean in The Matrix Resurrections?

Bruno Cooke December 23, 2021
What does ‘Mnemosyne’ mean in The Matrix Resurrections?

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The Matrix Resurrections is the fourth instalment in The Matrix film series; Warner Bros Pictures released it theatrically in most countries yesterday (December 22). What does the name of the hovercraft, “Mnemosyne”, mean, what is its symbolism, and how does it relate to the names of previous ships in the series?

What does the word ’Mnemosyne’ mean?

Mnemosyne is the name of the hovercraft in the fourth instalment of the Matrix film series, Resurrections. 

If you used to know what it meant, but seem to have forgotten, there’s a reason for that. 

Mnemosyne is the goddess of memory, and the mother of the nine Muses, in Greek mythology. Its root word, mnēmē, is also the source of the word “mnemonic”, which describes a trick or tool one uses to assist in memorisation. The pronunciation of Mnemosyne is similar to “nee-MOSS-in-nee”: the first “m” is silent; the emphasis falls on the “o”.

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The Matrix Resurrections | Official Trailer 2 | HBO Max

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The Matrix Resurrections | Official Trailer 2 | HBO Max
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Mnēmē means “remembrance, memory”: in the mythology of ancient Greece, Mnemosyne presides over the river of Lethe which, upon being drunk, stops the transmigration (or reincarnation) of the soul.

She is a titaness. According to one account, she fathered the nine Muses, including Erato (love poetry) and Thalia (comedy). She conceived them after sleeping together with her nephew, Zeus, who took the form of a mortal shepherd. 

What is the meaning of Mnemosyne in the context of The Matrix Resurrections?

Mnemosyne is the name of the main hovercraft in The Matrix Resurrections. Its captain is Bugs, played by Jessica Henwick. She is a gunslinger with a White Rabbit tattoo.

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Sequoia (Toby Onwumere) is its Operator; its crew includes Lexy (Eréndira Ibarra), who idolises Trinity.

Director Lana Wachowski revealed the name of the new Zion ship last year, when she auctioned a shield from the recently finished shoot. The shield mentioned the year 2074 and bore the antique name Mnemosyne, which Matrix fans quickly jumped on for clues.

Some speculated that, at the beginning of the film, Neo and Trinity wouldn’t remember their past lives. 

“Makes sense”, wrote one user on a Reddit forum, “if they are approached by rebels from the ship that bears the name of the Goddess of Memory, to awaken their memories.”

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Mnemosyne – the Greek goddess of Memory. Wood engraving, published in 1878.

What names do The Matrix’s other ships have?

In The Matrix, hovercrafts are the main mode of transport for inhabits of the city of Zion.

Morpheus’ ship, the Nebuchadnezzar, is a biblical reference to Nebuchadnezzar II, from the Book of Daniel. His name, meaning “Nabu, watch over my heir”, is Akkadian. Other interpretations include “Nabu, protect the boundary” – the relevance of which is clear to Morpheus’ mission.

Other notable ships include Logos (from which “logic” is derived), Mjolnir (as in, Thor’s hammer) and Osiris (the god of fertility, life, the afterlife and death in ancient Egyptian religion).

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Bruno is a novelist, amateur screenwriter and journalist with interests in digital media, storytelling, film and politics. He’s lived in France, China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but returned to the UK for a degree (and because of the pandemic) in 2020. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Forge Press and The Friday Poem, and most are readable on Medium or onurbicycle.com.