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Shakespeare's Ladies

One thing's for sure, the play's the thing-- and Shakespeare certainly had a way with words! His writing helped to shape the English language as we know it, and names are no exception! For those who love the Bard, here's a list of his female characters' names. This list takes into account historical characters that he used, as well as his comedies/tragedies/"troubles". It is meant to be comprehensive, so if there are any names missing from this list please let me know so I can add them in! - Created by knitwit

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  • Adriana

    A jealous wife in "The Comedy of Errors."

  • Alice

    A female attendant to Princess Katherine in "Henry V".

  • Aliena

    Celia's alter-ego from "As You Like It".

  • Andromache

    Hector's loving wife in "Troilus & Cressida".

  • Anne

    A young lady from "The Merry Wives of Windsor," caught in a love triangle. Her last name is "Page", which could make an excellent name combination! Shakespeare also used this name in the historic play "Henry VIII," for the king's second wife "Anne Bullen", and again for a different historic lady in "Richard III".

  • Ariel

    Although this name was originally used in "The Tempest" for a male character, in modern day it is commonly used for females. Ariel is a spirit of the wind, controlled by the protagonist, a spirit of great power and mischief.

  • Audrey

    A slow-witted/dim shepherdess from "As You Like It".

  • Bawd

    In "Pericles", this unusual name belongs to the wife of a brothel owner. As the name might imply, she spends quite some time convincing Marina to give up her virginity.

  • Beatrice

    In "Much Ado About Nothing," she's Hero's sarcastic and strong cousin.

  • Bianca

    Used in "Othello" for Cassio's mistress. In "The Taming of the Shrew", the same name is used for Katharina's younger sister-- a sweet-natured girl who has many suitors but cannot marry until "Kate" finds a husband.

  • Bona

    Used in "Henry VI: Part 3", she is sister to the king of France.

  • Blanche

    The king's niece in "King John".

  • Calphurnia

    Caesar's wife in "Julius Caesar"-- her name could also be written as "Calpurnia".

  • Cassandra

    A prophetess from "Troilus & Cressida", she has a gift for seeing the future but is cursed so that none will believe her.

  • Celia

    From "As You Like It," she's Rosalind's cousin. She runs off with Rosalind and disguises herself as a simple shepherdess ("Aliena") in the forest.

  • Ceres

    A spirit bound to Prospero in "The Tempest"-- used for the goddess of the harvest for the masque-within-the-play.

  • Charmian

    An alternative spelling of Charmion, she is a loyal servant and one of Cleopatra's most trusted advisors. From "Antony and Cleopatra".

  • Cleopatra

    Though she's the titular character of "Antony and Cleopatra", her name might be considered more historic than literary.

  • Constance

    Mother to Arthur, the king's nephew, in "King John".

  • Cordelia

    The youngest princess in "King Lear." Unlike her sisters, she refuses to heap false praise, even when the alternative is banishment from the kingdom. Her character is praised for its honesty and kind heart.

  • Cressida

    One of the titular characters from "Troilus & Cressida".

  • Desdemona

    From "Othello", the title character's wife. Accused of impropriety, but totally devoted to her husband.

  • Diana

    In "Pericles", she is the goddess of chastity. In "All's Well that Ends Well", she is a character of mistaken identity-- she's the one that Bertram *thinks* he has slept with!

  • Dionyza

    The governor's wife in "Pericles". A strong woman who resents Marina for being better than her daughter.

  • Doll

    The nickname for Mistress Dorothy in "Henry IV: Part 2"

  • Dorcas

    A shepherdess from "The Winter's Tale" who sings and loves music.

  • Dorothy

    Used in "Henry IV: Part 2" as the name of a prostitute, nicknamed "Doll".

  • Eleanor

    Nicknamed "Nell," she is the duchess in "Henry VI: Part 2" who dabbles in witchcraft. The name is also used in the historic play "King John" for the king's mother, the famous Eleanor of Aquitaine.

  • Elizabeth

    In "Henry VI: Part 3", it is the first name of Lady Grey, who eventually marries Edward IV and becomes queen of England.

  • Emilia

    The long-lost wife and mother from "The Comedy of Errors", known through most of the play as "The Abbess". The name was also used in "Othello", for the wife of the antagonist Iago. Shakespeare used this name for a third time in "The Two Noble Kinsmen" for Hippolyta's sister, and again for a fourth time in "The Winter's Tale" for a lady-in-waiting.

  • Gertrude

    The Queen in "Hamlet"-- the title character's mother, who married his uncle after the death of the king.

  • Goneril

    The oldest daughter in "King Lear", her name could also be spelled "Gonoril" or "Gonerill". She exhibits a strong tendency to lie to other characters, and ultimately poisons her sister then kills herself.

  • Hecate

    Alternatively spelled Hecat, she is an ancient goddess who appears in "Macbeth" to help the witches perform their spells.

  • Helen

    Shakespeare used this name for a lady-in-waiting to Innogen in "Cymbeline". He used it again in "Troilus & Cressida" for the historic character of Helen of Troy.

  • Helena

    The main female character in "All's Well that Ends Well". The same name was used for a young lady in love in "A Midsummer Night's Dream".

  • Helenus

    A female priest in "Troilus & Cressida".

  • Hermia

    In "A Midsummer Night's Dream," she is caught in a love triangle between the man her father wants her to marry and the man she loves. Quite headstrong!

  • Hermione

    Long before this name was featured in the Harry Potter series, Shakespeare used it for a queen in "The Winter's Tale".

  • Hero

    The governor's daughter in "Much Ado About Nothing". For such a strong name, she is rather meek and obedient to her elders!

  • Hippolyta

    The Amazon queen whose wedding is celebrated in "A Midsummer Night's Dream". This same character shows up again in "The Two Noble Kinsmen".

  • Imogen

    Used in "Cymbeline" and "Much Ado About Nothing". Some current studies of Shakespeare's text propose that the name was entered incorrectly when it was first written down, and that it should properly have been recorded as "Innogen".

  • Innogen

    In "Cymbeline," she is a virtuous and pure princess. In "Much Ado About Nothing," she appears in early editions as Leonato's wife and is considered to be a "ghost character". Shakespeare must have liked this name to have used it twice!

  • Iras

    From "Antony and Cleopatra," she's a loyal servant to Cleopatra.

  • Iris

    Another spirit bound to Prospero in "The Tempest"-- the goddess of the rainbow in the masque-within-the-play (and in Greek mythology).

  • Isabel

    The French Queen in "Henry V". Also, the king's wife in "Richard II".

  • Isabella

    A novice nun who argues on her brother's behalf in "Measure for Measure".

  • Jacquenetta

    A lower-class country girl in "Love's Labours Lost".

  • Jessica

    The love-struck daughter of Shylock (the titular merchant in "The Merchant of Venice").

  • Joan

    In "Henry VI: Part 1", Joan of Arc makes an appearance!

  • Julia

    Used in "The Two Gentlemen of Verona" for a young lady who disguises herself as a boy/page.

  • Juliet

    Title character in "Romeo and Juliet". The name was also used for a pregnant protagonist in "Measure for Measure."

  • Juno

    Yet another spirit bound to Prospero in "The Tempest"-- in the masque-within-the-play, she is the goddess of marriage, but in mythology she is known as a Roman goddess.

  • Kate

    The first name of Lady Percy in "Henry IV". Also, a nickname for Katherine in "The Taming of the Shrew".

  • Katherine

    A princess in "Henry V", her name is sometimes spelled as Catherine or Katharine. The same name was used for a different royal lady in "Henry VIII", where she is Henry VIII's first wife.

  • Katherina

    The leading lady in "The Taming of the Shrew". Hot-tempered and feisty, she is the "shrew" referenced in the title.

  • Katharine

    A lady and attendant to the princess in "Love's Labour's Lost".

  • Lavinia

    Beautiful daughter to the title character in "Titus Andronicus"-- could be described as chaste, obedient, quiet, and patient.

  • Luce

    A servant in "A Comedy of Errors", called "Nell" in some editions of the play.

  • Luciana

    Adriana's ladylike sister in "The Comedy of Errors".

  • Lucretta

    Julia's lady-in-waiting in "The Two Gentlemen of Verona".

  • Lychordia

    The name is used for a nurse in "Pericles".

  • Margaret

    Nicknamed Meg in "Much Ado About Nothing", she's a fashionable and flirtatious lady-in-waiting to Hero. The same name was used in "Henry VI: Part 1", where she is daughter to a duke; in "Henry VI: Part 2" and "Richard III", this character has become Queen of England. Also in "Richard III," there is ANOTHER character named Margaret.

  • Margery

    A witch in "Henry VI: Part 2". Last name is Jourdain (Jordan) in the play, which could make a great first/middle name combination!

  • Maria

    A lady and attendant to the princess in "Love's Labour's Lost". Shakespeare used this same name for a different lady-in-waiting in "Twelfth Night".

  • Mariana

    A neighbor in "All's Well that Ends Well"; a secondary character in "Measure for Measure".

  • Marina

    In "Pericles", she is the title character's daughter, born at sea during a storm. Her ability to surpass Philoten in every way incurs Dionyza's wrath.

  • Miranda

    Used in "The Tempest" for the protagonist's daughter-- a naiive girl with much to learn about the world, but armed with a compassionate heart.

  • Mopsa

    A shepherdess from "The Winter's Tale", with whom The Clown expresses interest.

  • Nell

    Used as a nickname for Duchess Eleanor in "Henry VI: Part 2". Used for a tavern hostess in both parts of "Henry IV" as well as "Henry V". The same name was used again in "The Two Noble Kinsmen" for a country wench. It was used yet again in "The Comedy of Errors" as a name for a servant. Though she is described at great length, Nell never appears onstage in "The Comedy of Errors", so her character is sometimes combined with Luce for stage productions.

  • Nerissa

    A maid-in-waiting to Portia in "The Merchant of Venice".

  • Octavia

    Used in "Antony and Cleopatra," she is Caesar's sister.

  • Olivia

    As one of the main characters in "Twelfth Night", she is a countess who falls in love with "Cesario" (Viola in disguise).

  • Ophelia

    This famous name is used in "Hamlet", where she is a young lady who is greatly distressed by her circumstances and ultimately drowns.

  • Patience

    Queen Katharine's loyal servant in "Henry VIII".

  • Paulina

    A wife in "The Winter's Tale," she is a strong woman-- brave, upright, and authoritative, with a strong moral compass and a real sense of right and wrong.

  • Perdita

    Shakespeare uses this name in "The Winter's Tale" for a girl who does not know that she is daughter to a king and queen.

  • Phebe

    A shepherdess from "As You Like It" who falls in love with "Ganymede"-- not knowing "his" secret!

  • Philippa

    The queen in "Edward III", married to the titular Edward.

  • Philoten

    Dionyza's daughter in "Pericles", not seen on stage but mentioned.

  • Phrynia

    Mistress to an Athenian soldier/captain in "Timon of Athens".

  • Portia

    A wealthy heiress with many suitors in "The Merchant of Venice". The name is also used in "Julius Caesar" for Brutus' wife.

  • Regan

    The middle sister in "King Lear", she (like Goneril) is shown to often offer false flattery and hurt others through her actions and words.

  • Rosaline

    A lady and attendant to the princess in "Love's Labour's Lost".

  • Rosalind

    The feisty main character of "As You Like It" who disguises herself as a man ("Ganymede") and runs away to the forest.

  • Silvia

    A duke's daughter in "The Two Gentlemen of Verona".

  • Tamora

    In "Titus Andronicus", she is the Queen of the Goths.

  • Thaisa

    A beautiful princess in "Pericles", she falls in love with Pericles without knowing his lineage.

  • Thisbe

    Used in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" as a role taken upon in the play-within-the-play segment; originally from Ovid's "Metamorphoses".

  • Timandra

    Mistress to an Athenian soldier/captain in "Timon of Athens".

  • Titania

    The Fairy Queen in "A Midsummer Night's Dream," married to Oberon.

  • Ursula

    From "Much Ado About Nothing," she's one of Hero's ladies-in-waiting.

  • Violenta

    A very minor character in "All's Well that Ends Well", she is considered one of Shakespeare's "ghost character".

  • Virgilia

    The title character's wife in "Coriolanus"-- she loves him and worries about him constantly.

  • Volumina

    In "Coriolanus", she is the title character's mother-- strong, proud, prim, and unyielding.

  • Valeria

    In "Coriolanus," she is Virgilia's friend, known for her chaste behavior and noble upbringing.

  • Viola

    One of the main characters in "Twelfth Night", she disguises herself as a man (Cesario) to survive. Twin sister to Sebastian.