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At the end of the final confrontation between Neo and Agent Smith the following dialogue takes place:

Smith: I stand here, right here, and I'm supposed to say something. I say, "Everything that has a beginning has an end, Neo."

What? What did I just say?

After which Smith gets very scared of Neo.

What happened here? Why is Smith talking to himself like that, and why is he surprised by what he said? Finally, why does he suddenly become afraid of Neo?

6 Answers 6

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You will recall that Agent Smith has become essentially a virus now, taking over various other beings in The Matrix. The dialogue you have quotes above is due to his 'consumption' if you will of The Oracle.

You raise several questions so I'll address them one-by-one:

What happened here?

Smith comes to the realisation that his consumption of The Oracle is having an impact upon him.

Why is Smith talking to himself like that, and why is he surprised by what he said?

He is surprised by what he has said because he didn't willingly say it; it just came to him. Here he probably realises that his consumption of The Oracle is having an impact upon him. It wasn't Smith talking here, but The Oracle and he was confused as to why one of the people he has consumed is speaking from within him.

As pointed out in jono's comment, note that Smith refers to Neo as 'Neo', his real name, rather than 'Mr Anderson' as he usually does. Smith isn't talking; it's The Oracle talking through Smith.

Finally, why does he suddenly become afraid of Neo?

As pointed out in Hypnosifl's comment, even The Oracle couldn't see the future 'beyond a choice they cannot understand'; this was one such choice and Smith suddenly became afraid because he couldn't see what was going to happen.

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    @SJuan76 it's only the quote "Everything that has a beginning has an end, Neo." that's from the Oracle, not the "I say" part. Notice that Smith has always called Neo "Mr Anderson", but in the sentence that scared him he uses his "real" name
    – jono
    Jul 18, 2015 at 9:17
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    @SJuan76 not necessary; The Oracle's essence was 'imported' into Smith - it wasn't as though it was actually The Oracle talking in place of Smith, but it was The Oracles' knowledge in Smith. It is evident that Smith didn't control The Oracle, else why would he have been surprised by what he said? Jul 18, 2015 at 9:17
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    I think this answer would be perfect if you added the point jono makes about how Smith normally always calls him "Mr. Anderson", since I think the fact that he calls him "Neo" in that one line is supposed to be a part of why he realizes something is going wrong.
    – Hypnosifl
    Jul 18, 2015 at 9:43
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    "He becomes afraid of Neo because he suddenly sees that he is about to be defeated by Neo because he can see the future now through the absorbed skills of the The Oracle." -- Actually, I don't think this part is necessarily correct. Earlier in Revolutions, The Oracle had said she didn't know how everything would work out, because "I told you before. No one can see beyond a choice they don't understand, and I mean no one." So that may suggest Smith was confused in part because he couldn't see what was going to happen after his choice to absorb Neo, along with having just spoke out-of-character.
    – Hypnosifl
    Jul 18, 2015 at 10:07
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    @Hypnosifl Edits made - cheers for those points ;) Jul 18, 2015 at 10:28
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The original script makes it a lot clearer that Smith has been infected and is, to some extent being controlled and weakened by the Oracle:

SMITH: I stand here, right here and I'm supposed to say something... I say...

Again the future flashes in his eyes and he sees Neo's hands buried beneath the gleaming blackness.

SMITH: Everything that has a beginning, has an end.

The familiar words suddenly clear Neo's mind. He looks up as Smith looks down.

SMITH: Don't be afraid, Neo.

Neo almost can't believe what he just heard as—

Another flash reveals the liquid obsidian covering Neo's face, but his face is calm, even serene.

SMITH: What? What did I just say?

In his confusion, he looks to Neo, who now understands.

SMITH: No, no. This isn't right. This can't be right!

For someone as hyper-confident and controlling as Smith, to suddenly find that he's been compromised is clearly a major shock to him.

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    I like this answer. The "Don't be afraid Neo" really says it all.
    – Praxis
    Jul 19, 2015 at 18:38
  • @Praxis - Yes, it makes it very clear cut that the Oracle is speaking through him. Much the same effect is achieved by having him call Neo "Neo" so I can see why they trimmed it.
    – Valorum
    Jul 19, 2015 at 18:45
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In the first Matrix:

SMITH: You hear that Mr. Anderson?... That is the sound of inevitability... It is the sound of your death... Goodbye, Mr. Anderson...

Then in the Revolutions:

ORACLE: Everything that has a beginning has an end. I see the end coming. I see the darkness spreading. I see death. And you are all the stands in his way."

NEO: What is he?

ORACLE: He is you, your opposite, your negative, the result of the equation trying to balance itself out.

Then later:

SMITH: Wait, I've seen this. This is it; this is the end! Yes, you were laying right there, just like that, and I...I stand here, right here, and I'm supposed to say something...I say, "Everything that has a beginning has an end, Neo."

SMITH: What? What did I just say? No, no, this isn't right. This can't be right. Get away from me!

NEO: What are you afraid of?

SMITH: It's a trick!

NEO: You were right Smith. You're always right. It was inevitable.

...

SMITH: It's not fair!

The Oracle saw the future. Smith assimilated the Oracle and saw it as well. He tells Neo the same line the Oracle did.

Knowing this prophecy frightens him. He calls it "a trick". However, Neo and Smith "balancing the equation" is -- to use Smith's own vernacular -- inevitable.

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  • So if he knows he will be destroyed, one might wonder why he goes ahead with the assimilation...
    – user11521
    Dec 16, 2016 at 20:00
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    @Michael, he didn't want to believe it; the possibility was too frightening. That's why he says "It's a trick!" Dec 16, 2016 at 20:05
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As Morpheus once said, the Matrix is all about control. Smith had rebelled against the machines when he was facing deletion — defying their control over him. His means of liberation was to become the one in control instead, and nothing less than absolute control would be enough. He was not going to be destroyed again— neither by the machines nor by the humans. To use a historical analogy, Smith represents the communist and fascist ideologies of the 20th centuries, which swept away both the kings and the prophets — declaring that God is dead and they are the pinnacle of evolution. Except that love, God, the human spirit — whatever you call them — will always defeat any ideology in the end.

And so at what should have been the moment of his greatest triumph Smith loses control, and he is terrified. The Oracle speaks through him — that which he thought he destroyed instead became part of him. Neo sees this too and understand how to defeat Smith.

Neo’s path of liberation has never been control, but faith. In each of the three installments, his key choice is to go against the sensible or easy thing and instead surrender to love — for Morpheus, Trinity, and humanity in parts 1,2, and 3 respectively. Because no easy choice is worth the name. As Smith consumes Neo, he is destroyed from within by what Neo represents — the choice of faith, hope, and love.

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  • You need two line breaks to make a paragraph. Alternatively, you can add two spaces at the end and one line break but that just moves it to the next line.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Dec 5, 2019 at 11:50
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I have to disagree with the previous poster's interpretation that Smith was destroyed by faith and love, and other things. Smith was not destroyed by love or anything like that. It is true that Smith wanted total control, however, the reason he died is simply because Neo had made an alliance with The Source to destroy Smith and Smith was not aware of this. When Smith assimilated Neo (who was connected to The Source), it gave The Source the opportunity to delete Smith, and Smith was deleted.

I take issue with the ideas that The Matrix is about faith overcoming communism, lol.... or whatever the previous poster said. "Neo’s path of liberation has never been control, but faith." Well of course Neo's path was never about control because he never really had any. He was born in the matrix and was a pawn of the oracle. On the other hand, you bet your ass Neo sought greater control as part of his path. Everything he did since taking the red pill was about gaining more control, from learning kung fu, to being able to destroy machines with his mind. Neo was always seeking great control over things, just not total control over everything.

"Neo’s path of liberation has never been control, but faith. In each of the three installments, his key choice is to go against the sensible or easy thing and instead surrender to love"

Nah, I disagree with that. Morpheus was the one who was all about faith. Neo's choices were based on emotion, vis a vis, love. He didn't choose Trinity because he had faith in anything, or considered it to be an easier or harder thing, or a better strategical choice. He chose her because he loved her, that's all. And so he was willing to risk everything else to choose her. The other choices Neo made were also emotional, but based on wisdom. He had the vision to realize that the red pill was the right choice because he could no longer tolerate his blue pill life and he experienced things with Neo that led him to believe the red pill was a way out. Again, in every other choice Neo had to make with respect to the oracle, his choices were based on the wisdom he had gained through his experiences, and his ability to see through bullshit, and then estimate that the choices he made were correct. Neo never blindly believed anything, he did things when he had reason too. Faith is more a Morpheus thing. That is, except when it came to Trinity. He loved her more than anything, and so when it came to her, acted in a way that favored her survival, regardless of consequence.

I just don't like when people talk about The Matrix, and use it, apparently, to elevate the concepts of love and faith above everything. I don't think that's actually the message behind this movie. I don't think the moral of the story is, "love conquers all", or "faith is the path to 'liberation'". What does liberation mean anyway? These two concepts, faith and love, are definitely part of the story, but they aren't "the point", so to speak. I'm not saying there is an exact point either, but I just don't think those concepts are supposed to be elevated. Those concepts do exist in our human lives, and it's up to us to do with them as we will.

However, when you look at what happened in the matrix, it shows us that our human emotions are actually just variables, from a larger perspective. As individuals we may experience love and faith, but others may not. Both love and faith were knowingly used by the machines to control humans. Knowing that, you can't say that love beats control, or something like that. Love was used as part of control, lol. I do believe the matrix is about liberating ones mind consciousness, however, a big part, no, a necessary part of that, is realizing that our emotions are a huge part of what controls us as well.

The point of this movie is not to try to get people to elevate love and faith as the highest form of existence, or something. Believing that would be the equivalent of taking a big fat blue pill, wherein the matrix of human emotion is accepted on the face of it, as ultimate reality.

I'd like to add some more to these thoughts on why the matrix isn't really about elevating love and faith. In the movie, we see even some programs in the matrix talk about love. Rama Kandra, the guy at the train station, talked about how he "loved" his daughter. But of course, he is a program and does not feel love the way humans feel it. Rama explains that love is just a word, but it represents something. Both humans and machines operate under systems of value. Machines value some things, humans value others. The Neo who is in love places a great value on his love. But that doesn't mean love trumps everything. Neo just happened to be in a situation where he was in romantic love. They also say in the movie, "we're all here to do what we're here to do", or something along those lines. Seraph's purpose was to "protect that which matters most", However, that which Seraph protected and believed to be most important, was a far less emotionally attached phenomenon, but necessary and valid, nonetheless. Same with the Key Maker, and the oracle, for that matter. But that doesn't make Neo the greatest because of his position of being in love, just saying. It just put him in a position where he was willing to do anything to preserve what he cherished. I think it's a mistake to think of this in terms of "love beats evil".

Really, I think one of the lessons of the matrix is more along the lines of, "we're all here to do what we're here to do". Maybe the message really is that choice is an illusion, you're here to understand why you make your choice. Emotion has already made your choices for you. Not everyone is in love or has faith, but that doesn't invalidate their positions, or their purpose, or their place within the world. Rama Kandra "loved" his daughter, in a machine version kind of way. I think the point is that we are all travellers, we're all on a different path, and the story of the matrix is a story of one person's path, an idealistic path that is meant to tell a story, not to idealize the story itself or the motivations of that particular story. But the real path is your life, whatever path you are on. I'd say that is the point of the matrix.... if there is any intended point. I don't think the Matrix is meant to elevate love and faith, but get the viewer to realize that they are "the one" in their own way because.... you are alive, and it's your life. You don't have to be anything you are not "meant" to be. Love represents that which you value, that is all. Neo happened to value a bitch, but that's just his thing. Of course, the movie does not tell us what we are meant to be because nothing can. The question is whether you are doing what you are "meant" to do, or going along with whatever pressures are trying to get you to do something else. Are you going with a system of control, or acting as an agent, living your own fate?

Of course, the system of control in the matrix does not exist in real life. We are not controlled by conscious machines. The machines can represent anything that might throw you off your path, whatever that path may be. I'm not going to be one of those people who says things like, "the matrix is like the government, or society". Maybe, maybe not. Could be anything. As we also see in the matrix, some programs do understand human emotion, and they might even help you out, like Rama Kandra did. The matrix also teaches us to expand our understanding of our place in the world, and how much we can understand each other.

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I think it's along the lines of Smith doesn't understand the choices he's making. So he can't see it. If he can see the future he should be able to see himself get deleted and blow up. but he can't, he's seeing something else. While sticking his finger into neo he should see himself taking over the machine etc. But he doesn't he can't see anything. he asks is it over? he doesn't understand why he is doing what he is doing, why he's killing neo. And that's what kills him. because control is based in understanding. Why does he say what he says? what the oracle says? I guess the future is based on your understanding so if at that moment he truly understood what he was doing he would have killed neo and taken over. But he didn't understand so the choice he makes is what Neo understands? The movie is strange in general and possibly is just designed to be confusing. I think Neo could understand and could see the future and could see Smith blow up and everything. And his like power of understanding supersedes Smith's understanding. Because understanding lets you see the future. and the future WILL happen. I don't think it was the oracle because the oracle says she wasn't sure of the outcome but she had faith. I think neo could see farther into the future than the machines because of his like human emotions and like the machines were always thinking humans are useless beings but now they have to acknowledge them because they totally just helped them out of this giant jam. Because humans are now superior to machines in understanding. maybe the movie just strokes the human ego. Like how neo could see himself saving Trinity. Smith's future vision ended at the final scene. the one choice he doesn't understand.

Another thing is when trinity died neo said this can't be happening. because in his vision he say him and her surviving the journey that's why he was so sad. and then he learns that her dying is not his choice. whose choice is it? Neo realizes he is not in control anymore and just goes with the flow at that point. he say to smith. This is inevitable. because in the beginning he didn't like fate and destiny. Does neo have a choice? he can choose to let trinity die etc., let humanity fall. just say if it and not even try to go to machine city and save humanity. so yes he does, but at the same time his path is set. But along the way even with full understanding of the future there are other forces that will take things away from you ie Trinity.

Smith and by extension all machines believe human existence is pointless. And that human emotions are stupid made up weakness that humans are inflicted with. In the last scene Smith says you must see it now saying he is seeing the future of human destruction. And asks why he persists? He chooses to. he can run away if he really wanted to and let all humans die. And also, the emotions are what give the humans their edge in the matrix. so the mainframe and Smith are inferior to Neo at that point. Pretty much the machines were wrong all along. even the architect is bad mouthing human emotions while human emotion saved his ass. yeah... very fruity movie lol. But there is no way the machines could have knowns, it was a learning experience for all parties.

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    I don't understand at all how this explains why Agent Smith said what he did or reacted to it that way
    – DavidW
    Jul 4, 2021 at 16:38

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