5

When Neo goes to the Oracle for the first time, she performs a sort of medical check-up on him...

Oracle: Well, let's have a look at you... Open your mouth. Say, 'ahhh.'

She checks his throat, his ears, and do some kind of hand reading...

Was she just acting, trying to mess with Neo's mind, like telling him he was not the One? Or did it really have a meaning, programmatically speaking?

7

There's no special meaning to it. She's just playing out a sequence whereby she "examines" him and determines that he's not The One. After she examines him she says:

Oracle: OK, now I'm supposed to say, "Hmm, that's interesting, but... " then you say...

Neo: ..."but what?"

Oracle: But... you already know what I'm going to tell you.

Neo: I'm not The One.

It was just a way for her to act out a sequence so that Neo would jump to the conclusion that he wasn't The One. Neo wasn't The One yet* because he didn't believe it (that was the point about him breaking the vase, "know thyself", etc.).

How do we know the physical examination was unnecessary? The Oracle already knew Neo was The One before she touched him. We know this because she says

You're cuter than I thought. I can see why she likes you.

before she examines him. She is referring to Trinity, and she had already told Trinity that Trinity would fall in love with The One. She already knew Neo was The One (but "lied" to him) so the physical examination was unnecessary.

*Actually, The One carries code that must be re-inserted into the Matrix so in that sense Neo was always The One. But the Oracle tells us how important it is to "know thyself" and since Neo didn't know it he was not yet on the Path of The One.

  • For the record, I think you're right but this answer still lacks a canonical reference. It also conflicts my personal theory that she's feeding him information in the form of food (candy, cookies, etc) in which case there may be some sense to physically touching him. – Valorum Dec 9 '14 at 20:32
  • @Richard I agree that she's feeding him information in the food but the physical examination doesn't include food (she gives him the cookie afterward), so it doesn't conflict. You're looking for a canonical reference to the fact that physical touch in the Matrix does not convey information? – Null Dec 9 '14 at 20:36
  • I've had a look at the script notes and I can't see anything that relates to this scene. That doesn't mean there isn't a word of god comment about the usefulness/uselessness of this examination though... – Valorum Dec 9 '14 at 20:38
  • @Richard Of course, technically, she's not physically touching him at all since it's in the Matrix. The whole point of the movie is that it's all fake, which sounds pretty useless to me. :) – Null Dec 9 '14 at 20:44
  • 1
    I find it interesting that out of all the edits made to the "Neo meets the Oracle" scene, this interplay survived completely untouched from all three earlier versions of the script, the shooting script and the film itself. – Valorum Dec 9 '14 at 20:52

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