A Rose by Any Other Name: Shakespeare-Inspired Baby Names

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In storytelling, it often seems that all roads lead back to William Shakespeare. He crafted not just tales, but characters and places that have an influence far beyond the bounds of the original works in which they were featured. If you're looking for names with roots in the past, but with a connection to the here and now, what better place to start than with the creations of Shakespeare? 

Balthasar – Romeo & Juliet

A servant and trusted friend to the tragic character Romeo. Plus this name reminds me of another favorite – The Neverending Story. 

Beatrice – Much Ado About Nothing

Talkative, clever, and independent even during a time where such was not to be expected of female characters, she makes a worthy namesake.  

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Angus – Macbeth

While his character merely delivers news to Macbeth, his name, meaning “one strength”, stands out. 

Illyria – Twelfth Night

In this case the name  comes not from a character, but a setting – a seaside area along the coast of the Adriatic Sea. 

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Nerissa – Merchant of Venice

The faithful and practical lady-in-waiting to Portia. 

Demetrius – Antony & Cleopatra

A Roman soldier whose name is inspired in turn by the goddess Demeter. 

Duncan – Macbeth

The king of Scotland and a symbol of grace and power. 

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Miranda – The Tempest

Despite her life spent trapped on an island, she is compassionate and kind. 

Oliver – As You Like It

The eldest brother.

Elsinore – Hamlet

Another name derived from a setting; this time the castle where Hamlet resides. 


Luciana – Comedy of Errors

She places her value on love and family. 

Fabian – Twelfth Night

A prankster and troublemaker. 

Imogen – Cymbeline

She is virtuous and loyal. 

Lennox – Macbeth

A Scottish nobleman whose name has a decidedly modern feel. 

Iris – The Tempest

Goddess of the rainbow. Need I say more? 

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Leontes – A Winter's Tale

A king whose jealousy is his downfall. 


Cordelia – King Lear

The youngest, favorite, faithful daughter of King Lear. 

Lysander – A Midsummer's Night's Dream

A romantic at heart. 

Arden – As You Like It

This is the name of the mystical forest where As You Like It takes place. It's a personal favorite and the middle name of one of my little ones. 

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Have you chosen a Shakespeare-inspired name? 

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A Rose by Any Other Name: Shakespeare-Inspired Baby Names

Sara McTigue is a secret agent, cupcake chef, award winning author, photographer, and PTA mom. At least, that is how things look in her mind. When she isn’t testing the bounds of her imagination, she is a mom to three amazing and hilariously funny children, wife to a charming and handsome man, and thoroughly addicted to reading. With a BS in English Education and an MA in English Literature, words – and their ability to shape our lives and thoughts – are an everyday fascination. Af ... More

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