Seahaven, the island that houses the main character Truman, can literally be separated into two parts: sea and haven. Having the island itself being geographically alienated from the rest of the world, the city is a utopian community surrounded by the sea, whereas Truman’s artificially made fear of water, which Christof imposes on Truman in order to contain Truman’s universe, supposedly makes the island a safe haven for him away from the sea. However, Truman does not consider the island to be paradisiacal like most people would find a utopian city. Rather ironically, apart from Truman being physically entrapped within the island as the production team relentlessly puts all effort into preventing Truman having any chance of escaping the island and revealing the truth, Truman is somewhat mentally confined in the island as he is surrounded by the sea, which brings him traumatic memories of his father’s accident and hence the fear of water, which stops him repeatedly from attempting to leave the island. The satirical idea of the island being a “haven” for Truman further enhances and mocks the delusion of artificial reality under the saturation of the media, bringing a twisted idea of reality into the audience’ minds.
The main character’s name Truman originates from the two words “true” and “man”. Being the only character that remains shielded from the ultimate truth in “The Truman Show”, Truman is the only authentic character among the artificial community. The surname Burbank originates from the city Burbank in California, where television is produced. Located near Hollywood, the city is well known as the “Television Capital of the World”. Rather ironically, Truman is the only “true man” in the television studio, which echoes with the origins of his name. This once again reminds the audience of the artificiality in reality TV and the delusional idea of actors’ “reality” being authentic when it is in fact largely scripted and in the control of the director.
The name of Truman’s wife, Meryl, has a Celtic origin, which bears the meaning of “Bright Sea”. This satirically parallels to Truman’s injected aquaphobia. Meryl’s real name, as shown in the opening credits, is Hannah Gill. In the beginning of the film, Meryl is seen to be Truman’s normal wife, yet as the film continues, the audience sees the darker side of Meryl where her actions trigger Truman’s skepticism, bringing him towards his epiphany and the unveiling of truth. The audiences’ realization of Meryl’s true character is a parallel to Truman discovering the falsity of the reality he is presented with.