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Baby Names Cubby

Shakespeare Names
by Susan Harkavy

When searching for that perfect baby name, consider looking to literature for inspiration. Shakespeare is well known for his use of creative, off-beat names, many of which he invented himself, like Miranda. While some of them may be better used as pet names (it's hard to imagine the young boy who can pull off "Menenius" or "Fleance"), there are some interesting and unique choices amongst his characters' names. Names such as Bianca, Rosalind, Silvia or Viola fit in very well with today's trend towards old-fashioned names, while other names like Sebastian, Olivia and Miranda are already quite popular in the US. Here is a partial list of characters from Shakespeare to give you some more ideas.

Boys:
Angelo (Measure for Measure; A Comedy of Errors)
Antonio (The Merchant of Venice)
Balthazar (Comedy of Errors; Much Ado About Nothing)
Banquo (Macbeth)
Bassanio (The Merchant of Venice)
Benedick (Much Ado About Nothing)
Benvolio (Romeo and Juliet)
Bertram (All's Well That Ends Well)
Claudio (Measure for Measure; Much Ado About Nothing)
Demetrius (A Midsummer Night's Dream)
Duncan (Macbeth)
Edgar (King Lear)
Edmund (King Lear; Richard II)
Ferdinand (Love's Labour's Lost)
Feste (Twelfth Night)
Fleance (Macbeth)
Florizel (The Winter's Tale)
Fortinbras (Hamlet)
Hamlet (Hamlet)
Henry (Henry IV: Part I and Part II; Henry V; Richard II)
Horatio (Hamlet)
John (numerous plays)
Laurence (Romeo and Juliet)
Leontes (The Winter's Tale)
Lucius (Titus Andronicus)
Lysander (A Midsummer Night's Dream)
Menenius (Coriolanus)
Mercutio (Romeo and Juliet)
Oberon (A Midsummer Night's Dream)
Octavius (Antony and Cleopatra; Julius Caesar)
Orsino (Twelfth Night)
Pedro (Much Ado About Nothing)
Pericles (Pericles; Prince of Tyre)
Petruchio (The Taming of the Shrew)
Philip (King John)
Polixenes (The Winter's Tale)
Prospero (The Tempest)
Richard (Richard II; Richard III)
Romeo (Romeo and Juliet)
Sebastian (Twelfth Night)
Valentine (Two Gentlemen of Verona)

Girls:
Ariel (The Tempest)
Bianca (The Taming of the Shrew)
Calpurnia (Julius Caesar)
Celia (As You Like It)
Cordelia (King Lear)
Desdemona (Othello)
Eleanor (King John)
Emilia (Othello)
Gertrude (Hamlet)
Helena (A Midsummer Night's Dream; All's Well That Ends Well)
Hermia (A Midsummer Night's Dream)
Hermione (The Winter's Tale)
Hero (Much Ado About Nothing)
Imogen (Cymbeline)
Julia (The Two Gentlemen of Verona)
Juliet (Romeo and Juliet; Measure for Measure)
Katharina "Kate" (The Taming of the Shrew)
Luciana (The Comedy of Errors)
Mab (Romeo and Juliet)
Margaret (Much Ado About Nothing)
Maria (Twelfth Night)
Miranda (The Tempest)
Nell (The Merry Wives of Windsor; Henry IV: Parts I and II; Henry V)
Octavia (Antony and Cleopatra)
Olivia (Twelfth Night)
Ophelia (Hamlet)
Paulina (The Winter's Tale)
Perdita (The Winter's Tale)
Portia (The Merchant of Venice; Julias Ceasar)
Rosalind (As You Like It)
Silvia (The Two Gentlemen of Verona)
Thaisa (Pericles, Prince of Tyre)
Titania (A Midsummer Night's Dream)
Viola (Twelfth Night)
Virgilia (Coriolanus)
Volumnia (Coriolanus)

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