Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What's in a name? Ariadne in Mythology & Inception

Ariadne is certainly a unique name for a character, and the choosing of this name for Ellen Page's character is no accident.

As Ellen Page is the architect, praised for her ability to make mazes, her Greek name sack shares such similarities.

Ariadne in Mythology

Ariadne is a part of ancient Greek mythology. The common mythology about Ariadne is that she falls in love with Theseus (the founder-King of Athens), and helps him destroy her half-brother Minotaur.

Minotaur, with the head of a bull and the body of a man, dwelt in the center of a complicated labyrinth, a maze that protected him. Ariadne provided Theseus with a sword and a ball of red fleece to leave a trail for himself so that upon killing the minotaur he could find his way to freedom out of the labyrinth.

Ariadne would then go to marry Theseus. Most accounts, for various reasons have Theseus abandoning Ariadne while she was sleeping, leaving her to be swept away and wed by Dionysus (the popular god of wine, theater, fertility, and celebration).

Ariadne in Inception
The story of Inception has it's own mazes and paradoxical questions, but it is clear that this character naming was a excellent play on mythology to give one of my favorite character's in the film a name with fantastic allusions.

There's blinding allusions to this story in the puzzle solving, mazes, and even the sleep story, but I think those connections only go so far.

Although it is striking that like Ariadne, she is not the one who kills the minotaur, but rather provides him the tools to kill the beast as well as provide a way out. Perhaps there in lies the deepest meaning as it relates to this story.

Where I think you'd wish these illusions would provide some even deeper inner clues to the story, you only get a nugget here. At the same time, reflecting on this naming further demonstrates the art and care that went into this story.


Ariadne Green said...

My name is Ariadne Green, and my mother intuitively gave me the right name for a destiny as dream expert. I think Christopher Nolan may have created his character from my bio. I am the author of Ariadne's Book of Dreams, Warner Books 2001.

Anonymous said...

You notice just how many questions Ellen Page/Ariadne asks? The video edit "88 Questions with Ariadne" shows all of them - it's like a distilled version of her character's function as audience surrogate:


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