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I know Smith is driven by his purpose to kill Neo (and personally his hatred towards humans and the Matrix), consciously or unconsciously. But I don't quite understand why Smith insisted on engaging Neo in a fist fight, did he expect to kill Neo in that way at all?

Why didn't he assimilate Neo when they were struggling? He seemed satisfied when Neo was down, so what might he do if Neo stayed down? Because he seemed to have sensed that something was wrong later, and then assimilated Neo as last resort.

Did he want something else from Neo, beyond humiliating him?

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    Correct me if I am wrong, but wasn’t there a bit where Smith attempted to absorb Neo and it didn’t work? I haven’t seen those movies since they were in the theatre so my memory could be faulty. Anyway, your question is a little bit muddled, can you try to rephrase it maybe? – Broklynite Mar 30 '18 at 14:29
  • Yep you just remind me of that, but at least Smith clearly would like Neo to give up and just stay down. He was very upset the second time Neo tried to get up right after he said he had seen this. I think this indicates he was expecting something that might happen only if Neo lay down there(in that case he might not absorb Neo?). – Mingheng Wang Mar 30 '18 at 15:27
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    What is this "Matrix Revolution" you speak of? I only know about "The Matrix". – Z. Cochrane Mar 30 '18 at 17:32
  • My guess is that, because Smith is a virus that takes things over, something that doesn't seem to be subject to being taken over is an affront to everything he is. – Misha R Mar 30 '18 at 20:29
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Agent Smith is the classic character who has been rejected by his peers and masters and seeks absolute revenge.

Defeated by Neo, who he has an inbuilt belief is an inferior being (all humans being regarded as inferior by the AIs), he must avenge that defeat by not merely defeating him in battle, but by defeating his plans.

Smith seeks to take over the Matrix and by doing this presumably would at least challenge the AI outside the Matrix and seeks to defeat the AI in that way (as they need to control the Matrix).

So when Neo allies with the Matrix AI's to defeat Smith, Smith (now a vast self-replicating AI) has an absolute need psychologically to defeat Neo and to humiliate him, and finally to wipe Neo out and replace him with Smith.

Smith is a classic character familiar from all literature. A rejected figure motivated by the need for absolute revenge which requires them to first remove control from their enemies and them to eradicate their enemies in their own way at their own time of choosing.

But I don't quite understand why Smith insisted on engaging Neo in a fist fight, did he expect to kill Neo in that way at all?

No he wants to first defeat Neo, who is acting for the AI as well. Defeat is the first stage of his desired revenge.

Killing is not enough. Your enemy must be defeated in a way that allows you to savor the victory and see they your enemy also understands that they have failed and are powerless.

And that's also a classic type of character for villains.

Why didn't he assimilate Neo when they were struggling ? He seemed satisfied when Neo was down, so what might he do if Neo stayed down ?

Waited. He would have waited until he had extracted the last measure of ego from his victory. Then he would have dispatched Neo with as little thought as you might squash a bug.

Because he seemed to have sensed that something was wrong later, and then assimilated Neo as last resort.

Not a last resort, but part of the need to fulfill a classic revenge fantasy. You first defeat and emasculate your enemy and then, finally, you erase them, make them nothing.

But this was a last resort trap by Neo and the AI, and, arguably, the actually plan was a kind of suicide mission by Neo as a bargain to save the "free" human colony.

This is really nothing more than a classic device in literature to allow the hero to do a grand and noble sacrifice.

  • Thanks. Then he is more human than I in that respect. Usually getting the job done is my priority, thus I was confused by his behavior. – Mingheng Wang Mar 31 '18 at 0:56
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Haughtiness, overconfidence, ego; call it what you want. Smith was winning, he wanted to savor his victory, he wanted to punish Neo and the Matrix.

  • He wanted confidence and ego from Neo? Do you have anything to back this up? – Edlothiad Mar 31 '18 at 6:27
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My humbling take in this final scene is the following: Smith Or the forger, came to believe he was the one. This is because Smith became a replica of Neo. Smith became a replica of Neo when Smith tried to assimilated him after He came back from death. Thus in smith's world, Neo, or "the true one" became the Ultimate enemy. Ergo defeating Neo would constitute him the Savior or the hero of his world.

What the machines and Smith were after was the very code, or the Idea to be the one. For it is the one that controls and rules all. For there is a difference between being the one and becoming the one. We find this mystery hidden in the Torah. And is explained through the fall of Adam and the fall of Satan. Which in synthesis it summarizes that both of their mistake was to become something they were not.

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