Inception : The Meaning of the Names

Cobb : spider, hence cobweb, also the character from Christopher Nolan’s first film, Following, is named Cobb and was a thief.

Arthur : Arthur Schopenhauer who has said that the spatio-temporal world is the world of our own reflection. Life is like a dream.

Ariadne : the mistress of the labrynth, a weaver.

Eames : first draft probably had him named Dr. Eams (but a variant of Edmund : rich protector). Sam Adams, a critic at Salon offers more :  Eames is “a tribute to the American designers Charles and Ray Eames. Although they are probably best remembered for their iconic furniture designs, Charles began as an architect, and the couple made over a hundred short films together.”

Saito : the word for website in Japanese.

Yusuf : Arabic for Joseph the Dream Interpreter from the Bible.

Mal : French for evil.

Robert Fischer Jr : Phishing is to fraudulently attain confidential information over the internet under false pretenses. Commenter Hollie adds that Bobby Fisher is also the name of chess genius. Robert connects to the next character as well.

Browning : Robert Browning, a poet who wrote a series of poems title Bad Dreams. Also : “At last awake / From life, that insane dream we take / For waking now.”


10 thoughts on “Inception : The Meaning of the Names

  1. Haven’t seen the movie yet but isn’t Robert Fischer also a throwback to Bobby Fischer the child chess prodigy? Precision, complexity, etc.

  2. Um, the meaning of Cobb being translated as “cobweb” doesn’t seem right. Cobb is short for Jacob, or “one who supplants”. Dom is Latin for “lord”, so one possible meaning for Dom Cobb is the lord supplanter, or lord of supplanters. Mal Cobb then becomes the evil supplanter. Just a thought

  3. Actually, I peaked into the etymology and found that Cob, intuitively enough, means spider. So he’s the master spider of the tangled web they weave.

  4. saito, in a japanese name form, isn’t necessarily the word for ‘website’. the meaning of his name would have to depend on what kanji he uses in his name.

  5. I don’t remember seeing him write his name, but it might be on the document that Cobb is attempting to extract. Perhaps that’s a job for when the dvd comes out.

  6. Ariadne is not fleshed out enough: It is she who saves Theseus (in this film his equivalent is Cobb) by providing him with a sword to slay the (his) Minotaur and a ball of yarn to escape from the labyrinth (in the case of the film, she is the designer and thus knows the maze). Her choice of name lends credence to the idea that Cobb does escape back to reality, that he is not stuck in his limbo.

  7. Guys, in Arabic, the word ‘khwabb’ (or ‘khabb’) means ‘sleep,’ or ‘dream.’ Cobb came from that… not from some spiderweb thing… on the other hand, ‘Lord’ is right for ‘Dom.’

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