Shakespearean names are a category of names that were popularized by William Shakespeare in his plays and sonnets.
These names have certain distinct characteristics that reflect the time and culture in which Shakespeare wrote.
- Unusual spellings: Shakespearean names often have unique spellings or variations from the standard spelling of the time. This is because the English language was still evolving during Shakespeare’s time and spelling was not standardized. For example, the name “Katherine” might be spelled as “Katharine” or “Katherina” in Shakespeare’s works.
- Classical allusions: Shakespeare was heavily influenced by classical literature and mythology, so many of his characters have names that are derived from these sources. Examples include “Hermione” from Greek mythology, “Cassius” from Roman history, and “Titania” from Shakespeare’s own imagination.
- Evocative meanings: Shakespearean names often have meanings that reflect the personality or characteristics of the character who bears them. For example, the name “Prospero” means “prosperous” or “successful,” which is fitting for the character who is a powerful magician in Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest.”
- Gender ambiguity: Some Shakespearean names are gender-neutral or can be used for both boys and girls. For example, the name “Robin” is used for both male and female characters in Shakespeare’s plays.
- Historical and cultural significance: Many Shakespearean names have historical or cultural significance. For example, the name “Juliet” is derived from the Roman family name “Julius,” which was associated with power and nobility. The name “Ophelia” comes from Greek mythology and is associated with sorrow and tragedy.
Overall, Shakespearean names are known for their distinctive and evocative qualities, reflecting the language and culture of Renaissance England.
These names have endured for centuries and continue to be popular choices for parents looking for unique and meaningful names for their children.
Shakespeare Character Names
Below are some of the most well-known characters from the plays of William Shakespeare, along with brief descriptions of each:
- Romeo – The protagonist of “Romeo and Juliet,” a young man from the Montague family who falls in love with Juliet from the Capulet family.
- Juliet – The female protagonist of “Romeo and Juliet,” a young woman from the Capulet family who falls in love with Romeo from the Montague family.
- Macbeth – The titular character of “Macbeth,” a Scottish general who receives a prophecy from three witches that he will become king.
- Lady Macbeth – The ambitious and manipulative wife of Macbeth, who encourages him to commit murder in order to gain power.
- Hamlet – The protagonist of “Hamlet,” a young prince of Denmark who is grieving the death of his father and becomes obsessed with avenging his murder.
- Ophelia – The love interest of Hamlet in “Hamlet,” a young woman who becomes the victim of the tragedies that unfold in the play.
- King Lear – The titular character of “King Lear,” an aging king who decides to divide his kingdom among his three daughters, with disastrous consequences.
- Cordelia – The youngest daughter of King Lear in “King Lear,” who refuses to flatter her father like her sisters and is ultimately disinherited.
- Iago – The villainous character in “Othello,” who manipulates the titular character’s jealousy and insecurities in order to ruin his life.
- Desdemona – The wife of Othello in “Othello,” who is wrongly accused of infidelity and ultimately murdered by her husband.
- Prospero – The protagonist of “The Tempest,” a magician and former duke who has been exiled to a remote island and seeks revenge against his enemies.
- Miranda – The daughter of Prospero in “The Tempest,” who falls in love with the shipwrecked prince, Ferdinand.
These are just a few examples of the many memorable characters created by Shakespeare throughout his career as a playwright.
Shakespeare Probably Wasn’t Called Shakespeare
Female Shakespeare Names [Girls, Women]
Here are some popular female names from Shakespeare’s plays:
- Juliet: The protagonist of Romeo and Juliet, a tragic love story.
- Portia: A wise and wealthy heiress in The Merchant of Venice who defends her lover in court.
- Ophelia: A tragic character in Hamlet, who goes mad after her father’s death and eventual suicide.
- Desdemona: The innocent and virtuous wife of Othello, who is wrongly accused of infidelity.
- Rosalind: A witty and independent heroine in As You Like It who disguises herself as a man.
- Viola: The protagonist of Twelfth Night, who disguises herself as a man in order to survive after a shipwreck.
- Cordelia: The virtuous and loyal daughter of King Lear, who is disinherited by her father for her honesty.
- Helena: A lovesick woman in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, who pursues her unrequited love with determination.
- Hermia: A strong-willed character in A Midsummer Night’s Dream who fights for her right to choose her own husband.
- Beatrice: A sharp-tongued and witty character in Much Ado About Nothing, who engages in verbal sparring with the male protagonist, Benedick.
These names are timeless and continue to be popular choices for parents looking for unique and meaningful names for their daughters.
Male Shakespeare Names [Boys, Men]
Some male Shakespearean names:
- King Lear
- Friar Laurence
These are just a few of the many male characters in Shakespeare’s plays, and each one is complex and memorable in his own way.
Shakespeare Names for Dogs
Here are some Shakespearean names for dogs along with their meanings:
- Romeo – meaning “pilgrim to Rome” and of course, the iconic tragic hero from “Romeo and Juliet”.
- Juliet – meaning “youthful” and the female protagonist in “Romeo and Juliet”.
- Hamlet – meaning “little home” and the title character in “Hamlet”.
- Ophelia – meaning “helper” and a character in “Hamlet”.
- Macbeth – meaning “son of life” and the titular character in “Macbeth”.
- Lady Macbeth – meaning “a noblewoman from Scotland” and the wife of Macbeth in “Macbeth”.
- Titania – meaning “giant” and the queen of the fairies in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.
- Oberon – meaning “noble bear” and the king of the fairies in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.
- Puck – meaning “mischievous sprite” and a mischievous fairy in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.
- Rosalind – meaning “pretty rose” and the heroine of “As You Like It”.
- Portia – meaning “pig” and the heroine of “The Merchant of Venice”.
- Ariel – meaning “lion of God” and a spirit in “The Tempest”.
- Caliban – meaning “black” and a savage in “The Tempest”.
- Prospero – meaning “fortunate” and the protagonist of “The Tempest”.
- Cordelia – meaning “heart” and the youngest daughter of King Lear in “King Lear”.
I hope this list helps you find the perfect Shakespearean name for your furry friend!
Shakespeare Names for Cats
Shakespearean names can make great choices for cats, as they are often unique, memorable, and full of character.
Here are some Shakespearean names that could be perfect for a feline friend:
- Oberon: Named after the king of the fairies in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, this name could be perfect for a regal and mystical cat.
- Titania: Another name from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Titania is the queen of the fairies and would be a great name for a graceful and enchanting cat.
- Mercutio: The witty and sarcastic friend of Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, this name would be perfect for a playful and mischievous cat.
- Puck: The mischievous fairy from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Puck would be a great name for a lively and energetic cat.
- Caliban: The grotesque and villainous character from The Tempest, this name could be perfect for a quirky and unique cat.
- Balthazar: A minor character from Romeo and Juliet, this name has a regal and sophisticated ring to it that would be fitting for an elegant cat.
- Ariel: The spirit from The Tempest, Ariel would be a great name for a cat that is graceful and light on its feet.
- Desdemona: The virtuous wife of Othello, this name could be a good choice for a gentle and sweet-natured cat.
- Rosalind: The witty and independent heroine from As You Like It, this name could be perfect for a cat that is full of personality and charm.
- Cressida: The tragic character from Troilus and Cressida, this name could be fitting for a cat with a bit of a melancholic or moody personality.
Shakespeare Fairy Names
Shakespeare was known for his portrayal of fairies in his plays and he gave them many whimsical and charming names.
Here are some of the fairy names from Shakespeare’s plays:
- Titania – The queen of the fairies in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”
- Oberon – The king of the fairies in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”
- Puck – A mischievous fairy and servant to Oberon in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”
- Cobweb – A fairy in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” who is one of Titania’s attendants.
- Peaseblossom – Another of Titania’s attendants in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”
- Mustardseed – A fairy in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” who is one of Titania’s attendants.
- Moth – A fairy in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” who is one of Titania’s attendants.
- Ariel – The spirit of the air in “The Tempest” who serves the magician Prospero.
- Juno – The queen of the gods in Roman mythology, who is mentioned in “The Tempest” as a character in a masque.
- Iris – The messenger goddess of the rainbow in Greek mythology, who is also mentioned in “The Tempest” as a character in a masque.
These fairy names are whimsical, enchanting, and would be great options for anyone looking for a magical and ethereal name for their child or pet.
Shakespeare Sonnets Names
Here are some of Shakespeare’s most famous sonnets and a brief description of each:
- Sonnet 18 – “Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day?” – This sonnet compares the beauty of the subject (likely a young man) to that of a perfect summer day. It is often considered one of Shakespeare’s most romantic sonnets.
- Sonnet 29 – “When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes” – This sonnet explores the feelings of loneliness and despair that come with feeling rejected by both society and fate. It ultimately concludes with a declaration of love for the subject, who provides comfort during times of trouble.
- Sonnet 73 – “That Time of Year Thou Mayst in Me Behold” – This sonnet uses the metaphor of autumn to describe the speaker’s aging and impending death. Despite this, the speaker suggests that love can transcend even the inevitability of death.
- Sonnet 116 – “Let Me Not to the Marriage of True Minds” – This sonnet is often read at weddings and explores the nature of true love. The speaker argues that true love is constant, unwavering, and ultimately unbreakable.
- Sonnet 130 – “My Mistress’ Eyes Are Nothing Like the Sun” – This sonnet is a parody of traditional love poetry, which often exaggerated the beauty of the subject. The speaker instead describes his mistress in a more realistic and down-to-earth way, suggesting that true love need not be based on superficial qualities.
- Sonnet 138 – “When My Love Swears That She is Made of Truth” – This sonnet explores the idea of lying in a romantic relationship. The speaker acknowledges that both he and his lover tell each other lies, but ultimately concludes that these lies are necessary for the maintenance of the relationship.
I hope this list gives you a good starting point for exploring Shakespeare’s sonnets!
Shakespeare Witches Names
Shakespeare’s witches were often dark and mysterious characters, with names that reflected their sinister nature. Here are some of the witches’ names from Shakespeare’s plays:
- Weird Sisters – The three witches in “Macbeth” who prophesy Macbeth’s rise to power and eventual downfall.
- Hecate – The goddess of witchcraft who appears in “Macbeth” to chastise the Weird Sisters for meddling in human affairs.
- Tamora – The queen of the Goths in “Titus Andronicus” who is aided by a witch named Aaron.
- Aaron – A Moorish soldier and witch in “Titus Andronicus” who aids Tamora in her plot for revenge.
- Sycorax – The witch who was banished to the island where “The Tempest” takes place.
- Caliban – Sycorax’s son and a half-human monster who lives on the island in “The Tempest”.
- Mistress Quickly – A witch who appears in several of Shakespeare’s plays, including “Henry IV, Part 1” and “The Merry Wives of Windsor”.
- Moll Cutpurse – A notorious pickpocket and witch who appears in “The Roaring Girl”.
These names are dark and mysterious, and would be fitting for anyone looking for a spooky or sinister name for their child or pet.
Shakespeare Era Names
Here are some Shakespearean names from the Elizabethan era, along with their meanings:
- Beatrice – This name means “she who brings happiness” and is the name of the witty and independent heroine in “Much Ado About Nothing.”
- Celia – This name means “heavenly” and is the name of the loyal and kind-hearted friend of Rosalind in “As You Like It.”
- Cordelia – This name means “heart” or “daughter of the sea” and is the name of the virtuous and loyal daughter of King Lear.
- Edmund – This name means “fortunate protector” and is the name of the villainous illegitimate son in “King Lear.”
- Helena – This name means “bright, shining light” and is the name of the lovesick heroine in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
- Juliet – This name means “youthful” and is the name of the tragic heroine in “Romeo and Juliet.”
- Portia – This name means “pig” or “doorway” and is the name of the intelligent and resourceful heroine in “The Merchant of Venice.”
- Rosalind – This name means “pretty rose” and is the name of the witty and independent heroine in “As You Like It.”
- Sebastian – This name means “venerable” or “revered” and is the name of the shipwrecked twin in “Twelfth Night.”
- Viola – This name means “violet” and is the name of the cross-dressing heroine in “Twelfth Night.”
These names are classic and timeless, with meanings that reflect the beauty and depth of the characters who bear them.
Gender-Neutral (Unisex) Shakespeare Names
Here are some gender-neutral (unisex) Shakespeare names:
- Ariel – the name of a sprite in “The Tempest”.
- Robin – can refer to the character in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” or the page in “Henry IV, Part 1”.
- Jordan – the name of a character in “As You Like It”.
- Phoenix – a reference to the mythical bird, but also a character in “The Tempest”.
- Bailey – a reference to the outer wall of a castle, but also a character in “Richard II”.
- Lane – a reference to a narrow country road, but also a character in “The Two Gentlemen of Verona”.
- Morgan – a character in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and also a name that has become gender-neutral in recent years.
- Taylor – a name that can refer to a tailor, but also a character in “The Merry Wives of Windsor”.
- Riley – a character in “Henry V” and a name that has become increasingly popular for both boys and girls in recent years.
- Casey – a name that has Celtic origins, but also a character in “Henry IV, Part 1”.
I hope this list helps you find the perfect gender-neutral Shakespearean name!
Famous Shakespeare Names
Shakespeare’s works are full of memorable and iconic characters, many of whom have become household names. Here are some of the most famous Shakespearean names:
- Romeo and Juliet – The star-crossed lovers from the play of the same name, whose tragic romance has become a symbol of true love.
- Hamlet – The melancholy prince of Denmark who grapples with the weighty issues of life and death in the play “Hamlet.”
- Macbeth – The ambitious Scottish nobleman whose quest for power leads him down a dark and bloody path in the play “Macbeth.”
- Othello – The noble Moorish general whose jealousy and suspicion destroy his marriage and his life in the play “Othello.”
- King Lear – The aging king whose misguided decisions and tragic flaws lead to his downfall in the play “King Lear.”
- Cleopatra – The seductive and powerful queen of Egypt who captivates the Roman general Mark Antony in the play “Antony and Cleopatra.”
- Falstaff – The boisterous and bawdy companion of Prince Hal in the plays “Henry IV, Part 1” and “Henry IV, Part 2.”
- Portia – The intelligent and resourceful heroine who outwits her foes in the play “The Merchant of Venice.”
- Shylock – The Jewish moneylender who is both a victim and a villain in “The Merchant of Venice.”
- Juliet’s Nurse – The humorous and caring confidante of Juliet in “Romeo and Juliet.”
These names have become synonymous with the characters and stories they represent, and continue to capture the imagination of audiences and readers around the world.
Shakespeare Names List, A-Z
Below is a list of Shakespearean names from A to Z, covering as many characters as possible:
- Adriana (The Comedy of Errors)
- Aaron (Titus Andronicus)
- Antony (Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra)
- Bassanio (The Merchant of Venice)
- Beatrice (Much Ado About Nothing)
- Brutus (Julius Caesar)
- Celia (As You Like It)
- Cassius (Julius Caesar)
- Cleopatra (Antony and Cleopatra)
- Desdemona (Othello)
- Duncan (Macbeth)
- Edmund (King Lear)
- Edgar (King Lear)
- Emilia (Othello)
- Falstaff (Henry IV, Part 1 and Part 2)
- Ferdinand (The Tempest)
- Goneril (King Lear)
- Hamlet (Hamlet)
- Helena (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)
- Hotspur (Henry IV, Part 1)
- Imogen (Cymbeline)
- Isabella (Measure for Measure)
- Jessica (The Merchant of Venice)
- John (King John)
- Kate (The Taming of the Shrew)
- Kent (King Lear)
- Laertes (Hamlet)
- Lancelot (The Merchant of Venice)
- Lear (King Lear)
- Macbeth (Macbeth)
- Malvolio (Twelfth Night)
- Mercutio (Romeo and Juliet)
- Nerissa (The Merchant of Venice)
- Octavius (Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra)
- Olivia (Twelfth Night)
- Ophelia (Hamlet)
- Paris (Romeo and Juliet)
- Petruchio (The Taming of the Shrew)
- Portia (The Merchant of Venice)
- Queen Mab (Romeo and Juliet)
- Romeo (Romeo and Juliet)
- Rosalind (As You Like It)
- Shylock (The Merchant of Venice)
- Sir Toby Belch (Twelfth Night)
- Stephano (The Tempest)
- Titania (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)
- Tybalt (Romeo and Juliet)
- Ulysses (Troilus and Cressida)
- Viola (Twelfth Night)
- Valentine (Two Gentlemen of Verona)
- William (As You Like It)
- Witch (Macbeth)
- Warwick (Henry VI, Part 3)
X: (No known Shakespearean names starting with X)
- York (Henry VI, Part 1, 2, 3)
- Young Siward (Macbeth)
- Zephyrus (The Winter’s Tale)
FAQs – Shakespeare Names
List the names of the plays by William Shakespeare?
Plays by William Shakespeare:
- Romeo and Juliet
- A Midsummer Night’s Dream
- The Tempest
- King Lear
- Julius Caesar
- Much Ado About Nothing
- The Merchant of Venice
How many children did Shakespeare have and what were their names?
William Shakespeare and his wife Anne had three children: Susanna, and twins Judith and Hamnet.
What were Shakespeare’s quotes about names?
Shakespeare’s Quotes about Names
- “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” – Romeo and Juliet
- “He bore a gentleman’s name, but he was a villain.” – King Lear
- “A man can die but once; we owe God a death. I will ne’er be frightened of my name: is there not charms By which the property of youth and maidhood May be abused? Have you not read, Roderigo, Of some such thing?” – Othello
- “My name, dear saint, is hateful to myself Because it is an enemy to thee.” – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
What names, words, and phrases did Shakespeare invent?
Names Invented by Shakespeare:
Shakespeare is credited with inventing many words and phrases in the English language.
Some of the most famous names and terms he invented include “bump”, “eyeball”, “cold-blooded”, and “lonely”.
Other popular names he created include “bloodstained”, “fashioned”, “lackluster”, “dauntless”, “gloomy”, “ambitious”, “impartial”, and “gossip.”
Conclusion – Shakespeare Names
Shakespearean names often contain a unique combination of both old and new elements.
Many of the names used by Shakespeare were not common until his plays were performed, as he was able to create interesting and creative names that were also easily remembered by audiences.
Common characteristics of Shakespearean names include the use of alliteration, play on words, and double entendres.
These characteristics help to add an extra layer of meaning, nuance and complexity to the character’s personality, enabling them to transcend beyond their basic function in order to serve a larger purpose in the story. Alliteration is often used for comic effect or to provide contrast between characters in a scene.
Play on words can be seen as a way for characters to express themselves without directly stating what they mean, while double entendres can be used as subtle references or jokes that are only understood by those familiar with the play’s context or hidden meanings.
In addition to these three traits, Shakespearean names also usually incorporate elements from mythology or classical literature, adding depth and cultural relevance to their characters.
This blend of characteristics helps make Shakespearean names so memorable and iconic today – almost 400 years after their first appearances on stage!