Wherefore Art Thou Romeo? Baby Names Inspired by Shakespeare
To be named after a character in a late 16th century/early 17th century Shakespeare play, or not to be named after a character in a late 16th century/early 17th century Shakespeare play. THAT is the question. Give a nod to the literary genius, and endow your son or daughter with one of these 20 names found in the famous works of Shakespeare.
Photo Credit: "Romeo and Juliet" Francesco Hayez
Want to raise a hopeless romantic? Name your boy after literature’s most famous lovesick teenager, Romeo. Romeo, the son of the affluent Montague family, was really into forbidden love and dropping over-the-top pick up lines. But, in the end, he was also too emo and rash for his britches. Dude, slow down, no need to guzzle that vial of poison. She’s not…awww man.
Photo Credit: "Rosalind and Celia" Hugh Thomson
Name your daughter after Shakespeare’s most recognized heroine, Rosalind from As You Like It. When her father was banished from the kingdom by his usurping-happy brother, she flees the court disguised as a shepherd with her loyal cousin Celia, also in disguise. She was confident, witty and brave, devoted and true to her family and friends. And not to mention, super gorge.
In Much Ado About Nothing, Benedick is a witty and insensitive bachelor who mocks the idea of marriage until he becomes moved by love himself. Clever Benny, even wise guys fall in love.
Name your daughter Luciana after the meek and dutiful sister in the Comedy of Errors who holds family loyalty above all else. You can even nickname her Loyal Lucy.
Photo Credit: "Portia" Henry Woods
In The Merchant of Venice, Portia is young, gorgeous, intelligent and RICH–she’s the most eligible bachelorette in town. Her father has bound her in his will to a “Let’s Make a Deal” type of “lottery” in which a suitor must choose the correct casket which holds her portrait to win her hand in marriage. But she’s not just a trophy. Later, she disguises herself as a male lawyer to save her friend Antonio’s life. Name your daughter Portia, but leave the game show shenanigans out of it, dad.
Photo Credit: "Audrey" Philip Richard Morris
Name your baby daughter Audrey after the country gal from As You Like It. She was not the sharpest tool in the shed, but she was damn good at herding sheep. But this is not about that shepherdess, it’s about the curveball you throw your friends when they assume you’ve named your daughter after another iconic Audrey, and then you school them with Shakespeare. WHAT!!
Katherina is the “Shrew” in The Taming of the Shrew. She’s mean, insulting and physically violent. And the men aren’t really turned on by that. But, they are into her younger sister who has been forbidden by her father to marry until her shrew-y sister gets hitched. Kate is eventually “tamed” by marriage. (Is that what we call it?) Name your daughter after surly Kate, just be sure to nip those tantrums in the bud early.
Griffith is Queen Katharine’s attendant in Shakespeare’s Henry VIII. It’s also the name of a famous L.A. park, Griffith Park, where you can go to hit up some Shakespeare performances. Or see the stars at the observatory. Or hike. Or ride a pony. Shakespeare would have loved that park.
Photo Credit: Sir John Gilbert
Cordelia is the youngest and favorite daughter of old King Lear until he gets pissed when she refuses to profess all of her love for him in return for one-third of the kingdom land. No land for you! In fact, she’s banished from the kingdom. But she marries the King of France and fights her horrible sisters to win back the land in the end. Name your daughter Cordelia after this honest, principled woman who probably really only needed a short “time out.”
Photo Credit: Thomas Keene in MacBeth
Name your son after King Duncan, the ruler of Scotland who was murdered by Macbeth in Shakespeare’s darkest tragedy. Macbeth had run into three witches who told him that he would be King of Scotland one day. Macbeth, a Scottish General, self-fulfilled that prophecy and took out poor King Duncan. Even though that sucked for Duncan, he will always have a much better name than Macbeth.
Oswald was the servant to King Lear’s eldest daughter, Goneril. Though he was sort of a bad guy in the play, his name means “divine power”, which makes this cool and somewhat uncommon name even cooler. Name your baby boy Oswald. And how about Ozzy, for short.
Photo Credit: PD
Name your daughter after Celia, the loyal and devoted cousin to Rosalind in As You Like It. Celia flees the kingdom with her cousin, and they both change their identities. Celia is Rosalind’s roll dawg. And these two sound like Thelma and Louise.
Iris is a mythological figure who is known as the goddess of the rainbow, and she also appears as one of three spirits called upon in The Tempest. It’s also the name of that Goo Goo Dolls song which was the soundtrack to that movie with Nicolas Cage. Try to forget about that. Nicolas Cage, that is.
Though Oliver is a mean, jealous, big brother in the Shakespeare play As You Like It, his name means “peaceful” or “affectionate”. Someone should have told him that.
Photo Credit: "Hamlet" Eugene Ferdinand Victor Delacroix
Gertrude was Hamlet’s mother, and Queen of Denmark. She’s also the lady who married her dead husband’s brother, Claudius. Hamlet was pretty upset about that. But, in the end, she apologizes by drinking the poisoned wine her husband has prepared for her son. A series of poor choices, Gertrude. But her name is a pretty name for your baby girl!
Photo Credit: "Ophelia" Alexandre Cabanel
Ophelia is the most obedient daughter for which her father could ever ask. As long as she’s unmarried, she plays by daddy’s rules and stops seeing Hamlet when he demands it. Having no decision-making power of her own drives her mad and she snaps. She facilitates her own drowning when she falls into a river and neglects to save herself. Name your daughter Ophelia, but maybe play that Destiny’s Child song to your belly on repeat before she’s born. “All the women who are independent! Throw your hands up at me!”
Miranda is the young woman who has been raised on an island to which she and her father have been banished since she was three in The Tempest. Name your daughter, Miranda which means “worthy of admiration”. Speaking of admiration, raising a child on an island without iPads, iPhones or any access to episodes of Doc McStuffins? Now that’s admirable.
Lennox is a Scottish Nobleman who becomes increasingly suspicious of Macbeth. It’s also a unique and strong Scottish clan name which was derived from a district in Scotland.
Juliet is the leading lady in the most famous love story EVER. Well, leading girl. Remember, she was only 13! She is the only daughter of the Capulets who want her to marry Paris, but she will like, literally die if she can’t be with Romeo. And she does. Give a nod to true love and Claire Danes and name your daughter Juliet.
Photo Credit: W. Hamilton
Sebastian is Viola’s twin brother in Twelfth Night who survives a ship wreck by clinging to the ship’s mast. You’ll feel like you survived a ship wreck after giving birth, but it will all be worth it when you see little Sebastian.
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