75 Shakespeare Names for Baby Name Inspiration
Shakespeare inspired many words, names, and characters through his plays and poems. Here are our favorite Shakespeare names for girls and boys!
Updated May 4, 2023
William Shakespeare is one of the most famous playwrights in history. His stories have stood the test of time and are synonymous with Renaissance England, classic acting, and traditional theater.
As someone who has an undergraduate degree in theater and has spent a lot of time on and off stage with plays, I love the idea of Shakespearean baby names. Both my children have names or middle names from theater or literature. And while we ultimately went with Samuel Beckett and James Joyce’s Finnegan as inspiration, a Shakespeare name or two was on the shortlist both times.
Shakespeare wrote 38 plays. Generally, they are broken down into 12 histories, 14 comedies, and 12 tragedies; however, some plays don’t belong in one category or another. They can be further broken down into romances, tragicomedies, and morality plays.
There is some debate over whether he actually wrote 37 or 39 and if he co-wrote with other authors; but the generally accepted answer is 38. Some of his most famous works include the wildly misinterpreted Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and King Lear.
Romeo and Juliet has become the pinnacle of love stories and is considered by many a great tragedy. However, in reality, Shakespeare wrote it as a farce on love and the dangers of infatuation, lust, and young love. The story is essentially about two teenagers in lust whose selfishness and hormones cause the death of six people. Nonetheless, it has become one of the most famous stories of all time because there is something relatable in it about human nature.
One of my all-time favorite plays I performed in was A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a classic example of mixed identities, fairytale-like magic, and of course, a triple wedding at the end. It is also a great source of baby names!
The bard did not choose his names at whim, and many of them have a much deeper meaning than what is apparent on the surface. So, if you have a dramatic flair or are looking for a unique baby name with a literary meaning, check out our list of Shakespearean baby names for your little star to be!
Shakespearean Comedy Names
Girl Names from Shakespeare Comedies
- Adriana - The protagonist of The Comedy of Errors. Greek. A woman from Hadria, dark-haired.
- Audrey - As You Like it. English. Noble strength.
- Beatrice -. Beatrice is the feisty female protagonist of Much Ado About Nothing. The name means she who brings happiness.
- Bianca - The Taming of the Shrew. An Italian name that means white or pure.
- Celia - As You Like It. Latin. Blinded.
- Helena - Helena is a star-crossed lover from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It is a Greek name that means light.
- Hero - Hero is a Greek demi-god and refers to someone brave. She is a central character in Much Ado About Nothing.
- Katherine - Katherine or Kate is the female protagonist of Taming of the Shrew, a hysterical look at marriage and the male and female relationship. The Cole Porter musical Kiss Me Kate is a fun modern, musical take on this play.
- Olivia - Olivia is the object of Duke Orsino’s affections throughout much of Twelfth Night. It is Latin for the olive tree.
- Rosaline - German/Latin. Gentle horse rose. Love’s Labour’s Lost.
- Rosalind - English/German. Tender or soft. Horse.The protagonist from As You Like It.
- Titania - A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Titania is the Queen of the Faries.
- Valeria - Coriolanus. Latin. Strong and healthy.
- Viola - Twelfth Night. A girl disguised as her twin brother leads to mayhap and frivolity. She is quick-witted, resourceful, and intelligent.
Boy Names from Shakespeare Comedies
- Benedict - The male protagonist of Much Ado About Nothing.
- Demetrius - Greek. Devoted to the goddess Demeter. One of the star-crossed lovers in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
- Ferdinand - Love’s Labour’s Lost. German. Courageous traveler. The prince of Naples in this classic comedy.
- Lysander - A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Greek. Liberator.
- Oberon - A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The King of the Fairies.
- Orlando - As Yout Like It. Italian. Famous throughout the land.
- Orsino - Twelfth Night. The flamboyant and life-loving Duke of Illyria.
- Puck - A Midsummer Night’s Dream. A mischievous imp or sprite. Sometimes referred to as Robin Goodfellow. He is considered an inspiration for Barrie’s Peter Pan.
- Sebastian - Used frequently in Shakespeare’s works: The Tempest, Twelfth Night, and Two Gentlemen of Verona. The name means revered or venerable. Think of Sebastian from Disney’s The Little Mermaid!
- Toby - Twelfth Night. Greek/Hebrew. God is good. Toby is a larger-than-life, comedic relief character.
- Valentine - The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Latin. Strong and healthy.
Shakespearean Tragedy Names
Girl Names from Shakespeare Tragedies
- Albany - King Lear. Latin from Alba. White or fair.
- Cassandra - Greek. A doomed prophetess from Greek Mythology. Troilus and Cressida is Shakespeare’s take on the Trojan War.
- Charmian - Antony and Cleopatra. A trusted servant to Cleopatra.
- Cleopatra - Antony and Cleopatra could be considered a history, but it’s based more on myth and romance, so it is categorized as a tragedy. Greek. The glory of the father.
- Cordelia - Cordelia is King Lear’s tragic favored daughter. Latin. Heart.
- Desdemona - Desdemona is the female protagonist of Othello. Greek for afraid of God.
- Gertrude - Hamlet. The Queen of Denmark and Hamlet’s mother. Dutch. Spear of Strength.
- Juliet - French. Youthful. The lust-filled teenager from Romeo and Juliet.
- Lavinia - Titus’s daughter who meets a tragic fate in Titus Andronicus. Latin. Mother of the people.
- Ophelia - Hamlet. Greek. Benefit or to help. Kate Winslet portrays Ophelia in a stunning cinematic version of Hamlet, starred in and directed by Kenneth Branagh.
- Regan - English. Little king. One of King Lear’s daughters.
- Tamora - Hebrew. Palm Tree. Tamora is the frightful Queen of the Goths in Titus Andronicus. The 1999 film Titus starring Anthony Hopkins and Jessica Lange, is a must-see for any Shakespeare fan!
Boy Names from Shakespeare Tragedies
- Antony - Antony and Cleopatra. Latin for priceless.
- Banquo - Macbeth. Usually referred to as The Scottish Play as it is considered bad luck to say the name inside a theater. Banquo is a Scottish name that means advisor or confidant.
- Benvolio - Romeo and Juliet. Italian. Goodwill.
- Caius - Latin for rejoice. He is the loyal noble advisor in King Lear.
- Duncan - Scottish. Dark skinned warrior. Fictional King of Scotland in Macbeth.
- Edgar - King Lear. English. Rich spear.
- Hamlet - French/German. Town or village. The prince and title character of Hamlet.
- Iago - Iago is the devious henchman in Othello who causes much of the drama. Hebrew for he who supplants.
- Lennox - Macbeth. Scottish. Elm grove.
- Othello - German. Wealth. The title character from Othello.
- Romeo - Romeo and Juliet. Italian. Pilgrim to Rome.
- Ulysses - Troilus and Cressida. Latin. Wrathful.
Shakespearean History Names
Girl Names From Shakespeare Histories
- Alice - Henry V. German. Noble.
- Anne - Hebrew. God has favored me. Anne is used in Henry VIII and Richard III.
- Calpurnia - Latin. Cup or chalice. Julius Ceasar.
- Eleanor - King John. French and Greek. Shining Light.
- Portia - Julius Ceasar. From the Roman clan, Porcius it means pig or hog. Not the most flattering meaning for a baby girl, but the name is now popular because of the actress Portia de Rossi.
Boy Names from Shakespeare Histories
- Arthur - Celtic. Bear. The older brother in King John.
- Francis - Henry IV. French for Freeman.
- George - Greek. Farmer. A character in Henry VI Part 2.
- Henry - German. Home ruler. Used in Henry IV Parts 1 and 2, Henry V, Henry VI Parts 1, 2, and 3, Henry VIIi.
- John - King John. Hebrew. God is gracious.
- Julius - Julius Caesar. Latin. Youthful and downy.
- Lucius - Roman. Light. He is a servant in Julius Ceasar.
- Richard - Old German. Powerful ruler. Mosty famously used in Richard III but also Richard II. Ian McKellan portrays Richard III in an excellent film adaptation set in the 1930s. The film also stars Robert Downey Jr. and Annette Benning.
Other Shakespearean Plays
Some of Shakespeare’s plays don’t fit cleanly into one category. Or, because of modern perception and cultural changes, the play has moved from its original category into another. Nonetheless, they are still great works of art which some excellent baby names!
- Ceres - The Tempest. Latin. To grow.
- Emilia - Latin. Rival or eager. The WInter’s Tale.
- Cymbeline - The title character from the romance play Cymbeline. Gaelic. Sun lord.
- Hermione - Greek. Interpreter. Before J. K. Rowling used this ancient Greek name for one of the most famous female characters of all time, Shakespeare used it in The Winter’s Tale.
- Imogene - Cymbeline
- Jessica - The Merchant of Venice.
- Miranda - The Tempest. Latin. Admirable.
- Paulina - Spanish. Small. The Winter’s Tale.
- Silvia - The WInter’s Tale. French/Latin. A spirit of the wood.
Boy Names from Shakespeare’s Other Plays
- Adrian - The Tempest. Dark, from the Adriatic sea.
- Ariel - The Tempest. Hebrew. The lion of God. Used more commonly today as a baby girl name.
- Dion - Greek. God of wine. The Winter’s Tale.
- Lorenzo - The Merchant of Venice. Spanish for a person from Laurentum
For more baby name inspiration check out these popular baby name lists:
- Top 1000 Most Popular Baby Girl Names in the U.S.
- Top 1000 Most Popular Baby Boy Names in the U.S.
- The 100 Coolest Baby Names in the World
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