The Master Becomes the Slave

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"What is the Matrix? Control. The Matrix is a computer-generated dream world built to keep us under control in order to change a human being into this. [holds up a Duracell battery]" -Morpheus describing the exploitation of humanity in the Matrix[1]

“The Master Becomes the Slave” explores the idea of humankind being ruled by non-humans. Non-humans may include machines, aliens, and even dietized objects. The ramifications of the domination of the human race vary widely, touching on all aspects of society. Here they will be discussed and compared to the current social situation.


Appearances of this Intersection in Class Reading

  • The Machine Stops portrays the absolute domination, and eventual fall, of the dietized Machine. The machine does not display any signs of intelligence, yet the entire society conforms itself to the machines internal prescripts. It is the machine that receives the majority of the limited labor performed, assuming the role of the non-human bourgeois [2].
  • Hardware: The computer found in Hardware turns Humans into "slaves" by taking control of all of the technology that Humans possess and bringing them into consciousness.

Appearances of this Intersection in Other Media

  • The Matrix epitomizes the theme of this trope. In the Matrix humanity has been overthrown by machines, after an epic battle between humanity and AI. Now, humans are grown by machines to provide a cheap, efficient source of energy. These “grown” humans are mostly unaware of their situation. Those that resisted try to regain their independence and fight the machine [3]. This reflects the human desire to control one’s own actions, Work, and ultimately one’s own destiny. Humanity tends to revolt when its labor is used as a means of control.

Comparisons to other Intersections and Tropes

This trope serves as an intersection of Human Labor and non-human Bourgeois, exploring the effects on humanity when its labor is diverted to other interests.


  1. Internet Movie Database.
  2. Forster, Edward. The Machine Stops
  3. The Matrix. 1999, Warner Bros. Pictures
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