SixOkay – Inception, The Greatest Trick Nolan Ever Pulled

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by InceptionEnding

in Inception Ending

“…Dom Cobb is an interesting choice for a character’s name. Dom means Lord. Cobb means supplanter. Lord Supplanter? That sounds like a pseudonym for Satan to me. But one interesting name does not constitute a pattern, so I kept looking. Do the other names seem to tell us something about the nature and function of the characters?

Mal means bad or evil. No surprise there for anyone who has ever taken a Spanish class. Still, it is a name consistent with the characteristics of the Devil, which means now we have two names. I think we need at least three for a pattern, so what else has Nolan laid out for us? Well, I found that the name James also means supplanter. At this point I knew that I was onto something. The names Phillipa and James also seem to be references to the Apostles, and Miles, which means soldier, is a shortened form of Michael. Hmmm. Everyone in Cobb’s family seems to have names that are Biblical in some sense. What about the rest of his team? Arthur means noble, rock, or bear (not wholly interesting on its own, but I’ll come back to its significance in a minute). Apart from its obvious allusion to Greek mythology, the name Ariadne means holy. Eames means prosperous protector. Yusuf, a form of Joseph, means “God will add”. Oh, and Joseph happens to be the name of Christ’s earthly father. The names of the two other characters Cobb works with, Nash and Saito, don’t have Biblical meanings, but have important symbolic meanings of their own. Nash means literally “at the ash tree.” The ash tree is a symbol of sacrifice. Saito means “purification wisteria.” Wisteria is a symbol of purification and longevity. My flimsy idea was starting to have some weight.

It got really interesting when I looked up Robert Fischer, the target, and Peter Browning his godfather. I could guess at this point that Fischer would be fisherman, a possible allusion to Christ. But I found that Robert means famous brilliance. So we’ve got: First name? Famous Light. Last name? Fisher of men. Definitely sounds like a Christ reference to me. Maurice, Robert’s father’s name, means prayer. So the Fischers’ seem to have names with Biblical significance, too. And then there is Peter Browning. The fact that Peter was the Leader of the Twelve Apostle’s and was the man who established the Christian church cannot be overlooked. However, the meaning of the name Peter serves another function here as well. Peter means rock. Browning means bear. Sound familiar? That’s because Arthur’s name and Peter’s name have the same meanings. I think that this does a lot to establish them as foils. And lays some really interesting groundwork for future storylines. I think it is fair to say that there is a pattern here. Like any writer worth his literary weight in gold, Nolan did not pick these names willy-nilly….”

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