Quote 5

Agent Smith:   “You can’t win, it’s pointless to keep fighting! Why, Mr. Anderson? Why do you persist?”
Neo:   “Because I choose to.”
The Matrix Revolutions

This exchange between Neo and Agent Smith takes place during their final battle in The Matrix Revolutions. Smith has replicated himself onto the entire Matrix, populating it completely with copies of himself, and the Smith that is battling Neo was once the Oracle. Smith and Neo have beaten each other nearly to a bloody pulp, and they’re in a crater created by the impact of their bodies hitting the ground. Smith thinks he has beaten Neo, but Neo has once again summoned the strength to keep fighting. Though Smith absorbed some of Neo’s powers when Neo almost destroyed him in The Matrix, he has never absorbed the ability to fully understand what it means to be human. He doesn’t understand love, freedom, or truth, and so he dismisses them as something humans made up to help them endure their short, pointless lives. Smith has ruined the Matrix, and he’s made everyone in it into himself. Smith knows that Trinity is dead, and that Zion is under attack. He can’t understand why Neo won’t just give up, and Neo’s answer infuriates him.

When Neo and Morpheus first discuss fate, Neo says he doesn’t believe in it and that he likes to be in control of his own life. Here, when Neo says that despite the destruction of everything he loves he’ll continue fighting because he chooses to, he means he fights for the right to continue making choices. Neo understands that freedom and the ability to make choices are better than the blissful ignorance that comes from being plugged into the Matrix. His initial choice in The Matrix—between the red and blue pills—was Neo’s first experience with true free will, and this final choice, to keep fighting, suggests that Neo has come full circle. When he chose the red pill, he chose to discover free will, and here, he actually embraces and uses that free will to fulfill his mission.