I found it a little odd that it was just the smell and taste that Agent Smith was repulsed by. If that was the case then why was he compelled to stay in the Matrix in the sequels?

  • 2
    He hated that he was forced to live in a "zoo".
    – Valorum
    Jul 4, 2016 at 16:58
  • @Valorum is on the right track. The "smell" comment isn't supposed to be taken too literally. It's just a stand in for the fact that he hates being trapped with humans and fears (quite correctly) that he has been tainted by them, and smell is as good a metaphor as any to express that.
    – DavidS
    Jul 5, 2016 at 9:01

2 Answers 2


Who says those were the ONLY reasons?? There were undoubtedly plenty of things about being in the Matrix that could seriously annoy Smith; smell is merely the only thing he happened to mention while talking to Morpheus. I would interpret the fact that he singled out smell as being the proverbial "straw that broke the camel's back". [seriously, thinking that something is the only thing that matters to someone because that's all that is mentioned aloud strikes me as kinda daft]

In reply to @Durakken: To my mind the notion that Smith has a choice whether or not to smell the Matrix is just wrong. Smith is an Agent inhabiting some poor coppertop's body, fully using it to get the job done. That level of control requires extensive infiltration of the brain and nervous system, a kind of integration really. An agent in a body has to see with that body's eyes and visual cortext, hear with that body's ears and auditory cortex - and yes, smell with that body's nose and olfactory cortex.

As to why Smith chooses to stay after 'the Neo incident': (a) Possibly the urge to destroy Neo has become an overriding consideration; (b) Perhaps being changed by Neo includes a fundamental change in how he processes smell; (c) Perhaps inhabiting multiple bodies at once has simply made him 'nose blind'.

  • You make sense in what you say here. I don't necessarily think it was the ONLY reason. I was just looking for the right answer. Yes smell and taste is what he say's, what was underlying though, more than likely was deeper.
    – Boots
    Jul 5, 2016 at 9:05

The answer comes in a form of a question... "What Smell?"

Humans in the Matrix have smell because it's being produced by the Matrix. Smith can smell the smells because he allows himself to. He doesn't have to and if they're replicating human senses, he wouldn't "smell" humans either. So when you ask, "What Smell?" it must make you realize, there is no smell to be smelt but rather there is a mind that is believing it is smelling something erroneously. ie Agent Smith is nuts if he thinks he is smelling things and that is the reason he wants to leave the Matrix. It's completely justifiable too for why he goes insane. The directing this insanity at humans is just a symptom of nuttiness. Psychologically, he's just lashing out at the things he can lash out at and making up reasons for his hatred.

  • But if Smith is a machine (which he is) why did he allow himself to pick up on scents?
    – Boots
    Jul 4, 2016 at 18:03
  • I think you might be mistaken. There's no evidence that Agents (at least those acting within the constraints of their programming) have the ability to change their programs, enhance or remove senses, etc.
    – Valorum
    Jul 4, 2016 at 18:07
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    Mouse said in the film "to deny our own impulses is to deny the very thing that makes us human".......I do like to over analyse films and the Matrix seems like one of those films that is deliberately made to be analysed. So with that being said, I find it strange that Smith was different from the machines when he hated the Matrix because of the smell. He shouldn't be feeling anything really, he is a machine. He should not be feeling even hate. So is this the sign that the machines can actually have emotions?
    – Boots
    Jul 4, 2016 at 18:25
  • why would you think they can't have emotions to begin with? The AI is just emulation of humanity and emotions are just part our natural brain function which to emulate you'd need to include in some capacity... And the reason he might have allowed himself to "smell", if he did actually, would probably have something to do with increasing his knowledge and analyzing data which results in him smelling to learn what its like to have that sense to analyze behavior better.
    – Durakken
    Jul 4, 2016 at 18:35
  • Well I did not think it was impossible, far from it. I was just looking for a reason behind Smith and his urge to escape from the Matrix. The answer you gave helped though. His being there so long that he was developing to be almost human himself.
    – Boots
    Jul 4, 2016 at 18:38

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