Looking for the perfect name for your new arrival? The Bard offers some stellar inspiration. Read on for our favorite Shakespeare baby names.
If you’re turning to the Bard for baby name inspiration, good idea — you’ll be spoilt for choice!
He wrote at least 38 plays featuring about 1,223 characters.
And while not all Shakespeare names make fitting choices for contemporary humans (we’re not so sure about a little Bolingbroke or Metellus Cimber, for example), many have stood the test of time.
Read on for our favorites.
In this article: 📝
- Who is Shakespeare’s most famous character?
- What are the names of Shakespeare characters?
- What are Shakespeare female names?
- What are Shakespeare boy names?
Who is Shakespeare’s most famous character?
Well, that’s debatable.
The star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet are definitely some of Shakespeare’s most enduring characters (who might also give you a contemporary-sounding baby name).
And we’d add some Shakespeare’s other eponymous heroes Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth and King Lear to the list as well.
For those who prefer the comedies, Orlando, Titania, Beatrice, and Benedict are all popular characters whose names would suit a baby boy or girl.
We’ll take you through all of our favorite Shakespearean baby name options below.
What are the names of Shakespeare characters?
So just who’s on the roster of Shakespeare names?
Here are some of the most popular Shakespearean baby names you just might have heard of.
Enter, stage left:
- Anne: Lady Anne is a widow who’s manipulated by — and marries — the infamous Richard III.
- Anthony: Mark Anthony is Caesar’s close friend in Julius Caesar and the protagonist of Antony and Cleopatra.
- Elizabeth: In Richard III, Queen Elizabeth is the ill-fated wife of King Edward.
- Emilia: If you’re looking for name inspiration from one of Shakespeare’s mightiest women, Emilia may be just the ticket. She’s loyal, honest, and, until she meets a bitter end, stands up for what she believes in.
- Helena: In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Helena is one of the Athenian lovers who follow Demetrius into the land of fairies.
- Henry: This name’s a key feature in many of the history plays.
- John: As in from the play King John and Sir John Falstaff who appears in Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2, Henry V and in The Merry Wives of Windsor.
- Juliet: One-half of the star-crossed lovers.
- Nick: Nick Bottom is at once a weaver, an actor, and half a donkey in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
- Romeo: The other half of the star-crossed lovers.
What are Shakespeare female names?
Shakespeare gave us complex female characters, many of whom ooze power.
So if you’re looking for the ideal name for a strong little girl, Shakespeare character names are a great way to go.
As Helena says in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, “Though she be but little, she is fierce.”
- Adriana: From The Comedy of Errors, Adriana makes some before-her-time statements on the role of women within marriage and society.
- Alice: Alice is a waiting woman in Henry V and one of The Merry Wives of Windsor.
- Angelica: We find out in Act 4 of Romeo and Juliet that Angelica is the given name of Juliet’s nurse.
- Audrey: The sweet shepherd girl from As You Like It and the love interest of Touchstone, one of Shakespeare’s most beloved fools.
- Beatrice: If witty wordplay is your thing, this sharp-tongued dynamo is perfect naming inspiration! She’s one half of a delightful duo in Much Ado About Nothing.
- Bianca: In The Taming of the Shrew, Bianca is the obedient younger sister of Kate. There’s also a Bianca in Othello: Cassio’s jealous lover.
- Blanche: Sometimes spelled Blanch, she’s the niece in the play King John and finds herself used as currency in the royal families’ political games.
- Calphurnia: While a more unusual name for a modern baby, it’s certainly unique and powerful. Calphurnia is Julius Caesar’s wife who, after being warned by bad dreams the night before, begs him to stay home on the day he’s killed. Basically, she’s a lesson in the importance of listening to your wife.
- Cassandra: The prophetess from Troilus and Cressida who’s always accurate but never believed.
- Celia: In As You Like It, Celia is Rosalind’s lovely cousin who goes with her into the forest. The two of them share a sisterly bond.
- Cleopatra: The Queen of Egypt. ‘Nuff said. And if Cleopatra feels like a mouthful, how about the adorable Cleo?
- Constance: This vintage Shakesperean name belongs to the mighty mama, Constance. She’s mother to Prince Arthur, and she wants to ensure that he gets what she believes he deserves in life: the throne.
- Cordelia: The youngest of King Lear’s three daughters, she’s the epitome of honesty and kindness. Sadly, she’s not rewarded for these attributes.
- Desdemona: Othello’s love, Desdemona meets a tragic end at the hands of her husband.
- Eleanor: That’s Queen Eleanor, the mighty matriarch in King John who will make sure that her son stays in power whatever the cost. Her name is also spelled Elinor.
- Francisca: This sweet name belongs to a nun in Measure for Measure.
- Gertrude: Hamlet’s mama who marries his conniving uncle.
- Goneril: Fair warning — she’s not the nicest of characters. The eldest of King Lear’s daughters, Goneril will stop at nothing to gain power.
- Helen: The most beautiful woman in the world who takes the stage in Troilus & Cressida.
- Hermia: Another of the lovers in A Midsummer Night’s Dream — famous for being the shorter of the two women.
- Hermione: In A Winter’s Tale, Hermione is a queen, the wife of Leontes, and the daughter of the Russian Emperor. She’s known to be sweet, kind, and motherly.
- Hero: From Much Ado About Nothing, Hero is the sweet, obedient daughter and the foil for the rebellious Beatrice.
- Hyppolyta: The Amazon Queen from A Midsummer Night’s Dream — yep, that’s pretty powerful.
- Imogen: the sweet, loving daughter of King Cymbeline.
- Isabella: In Measure for Measure, Isabella is the devoted, virtuous sister of Claudio.
- Julia: From The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Julia does what many Shakespearean women do and disguises herself as a boy to get where she needs to go.
- Katharina: This sharp-tongued powerhouse is the shrew that (for better or worse) gets “tamed.” Alternatives to this name are Katherine or Kate.
- Lady Macbeth: OK, it may be tricky to name your little one after this notoriously manipulative political agent. But although her actions were less than pure, she had no shortage of intelligence and might. What about Beth as an option?
- Miranda: The gentle daughter of Prospero and the only female character to appear on stage in The Tempest.
- Ophelia: This tragic character is Hamlet’s love, who falls prey to the moral corruption in the society surrounding her. The name Ophelia means “aid” or “helper” and comes from ancient Greek.
- Phebe: The sweet, hilarious shepherdess from As You Like It, Phebe falls for the boy Ganymede who’s actually a girl, Rosalind, in disguise.
- Portia: From The Merchant of Venice, Portia is the high-society protagonist at the mercy of her father’s lottery game to see who will win her hand in marriage.
- Regan: The less-than-virtuous middle sister in King Lear, Regan will do pretty much anything to gain power and wealth.
- Rosalind: The protagonist of As You Like It, Rosalind is the daughter of the banished duke who disguises herself as a shepherd and goes on some fun pastoral adventures as a result.
- Silvia: In The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Silvia is the daughter of the Duke of Milan with a heart for Valentine.
- Viola: In Twelfth Night Viola washes up on a beach in Illyria and has to survive by — yep, you guessed it — dressing as a boy.
What are Shakespeare boy names?
When it comes to names from Shakespeare for your baby boy, there are plenty of literary powerhouses to choose from.
- Adam: This kind old servant is from As You Like It.
- Adrian: In The Tempest, Adrian is a lord who serves King Alonso.
- Agamemnon: Sure, it’s a bit of a complicated name to say (and spell), but the name of this mighty Greek leader is sure to turn heads. He’s an important character in Greek mythology and appears in the play Troilus and Cressida.
- Alexander: The name Alexander pops up in a few Shakespearean plays. He’s Cressida’s servant in Troilus and Cressida, a soldier in Henry V and a nobleman in Henry VI.
- Alonso: The king of Naples, and you’ll find him in The Tempest.
- Andrew: Sir Andrew Aguecheek is the unfortunate uncle of Lady Olivia and one of Shakespeare’s fabulous fools.
- Angelo: Angelo is from Measure for Measure and is, by many accounts, the villain of the piece.
- Angus: Angus is a Thane in “the Scottish play.”
- Antonio: The titular Merchant of Venice.
- Bassanio: Also from The Merchant of Venice, Bassanio is an irresponsible young man hoping to marry the wealthy Portia.
- Benedick: The gentleman from Much Ado About Nothing who’s a frustratingly good match for the witty Beatrice.
- Benvolio: Romeo’s cousin and fellow Montague, Benvolio attempts to make peace in a world full of conflict.
- Clarence: The Duke of Clarence is the brother of King Edward and Richard of Gloucester. He’s in Richard III and Henry VI, Part 3.
- Claudio: In Much Ado About Nothing, he’s a Count and Hero’s love.
- Claudius: While he’s not the nicest character in Hamlet, Claudius (or Claude) makes for a lovely baby name.
- Cymbeline: One of many unique Shakespearean names for a modern baby, Cymbeline is the royal protagonist of the play of the same name. He’s led astray by his manipulative queen.
- Demetrius: From A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Demetrius is one of the quartet of young lovers.
- Duncan: The ill-fated King of Scotland.
- Edgar: Gloucester’s heir in King Lear. At one point, he becomes Poor Tom.
- Edmund: One of the real bad guys in King Lear, he’s the illegitimate son of Gloucester.
- Fabian: In Twelfth Night, Fabian is a servant in Olivia’s household.
- Ferdinand: The prince of Naples who falls in love with Miranda in The Tempest.
- Francis: In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Francis Flute is the bellows-mender who plays The Wall in the play-within-the-play.
- George: The Duke of Clarence who appears in Henry VI, Part 3 and Richard III.
- Gregory: A servant to the Capulets in Romeo and Juliet.
- Hamlet: It could be fun to bring this thoughtful character’s name back into the popular baby name lists.
- Horatio: Hamlet’s good friend and confidant.
- Jaques: This melancholy nobleman is the character who tells us that “all the world’s a stage.”
- Julius: As in Caesar.
- Laurence: Friar Laurence is the priest from Romeo and Juliet.
- Malcolm: The elder son of King Duncan and the heir to the Scottish throne at the beginning of Macbeth.
- Marcus: Marcus Brutus is the Roman nobleman who betrays Caeser (“Et tu, Brute?”).
- Orlando: In As You Like It, Orlando flees to the Forest of Arden, where his love for Rosalind kicks off some fun adventures.
- Petruchio: He’s from The Taming of the Shrew. In many readings of the play, he’s seen as the villain of the piece for his cruelty and greed.
- Prospero: The main character from The Tempest who’s wronged by his brother.
- Richard: Richard III is one of the more evil Shakespearean characters, but his name makes for a good baby name choice!
- Samson: In Romeo and Juliet, he’s one of the Capulets’ servants.
- Titus: The main character of the violent Titus Andronicus.
- Toby: Sir Toby Belch is a delightful character in Twelfth Night who’s as drunk as he is witty.
So there you are!
All the world’s a stage, and your baby is sure to be giving off main character energy with one of these Shakespeare baby names.
All the best with your choice!