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How influenced are you by the story behind the name?

August 29, 2017 joesatran

One of the big recent baby name successes has been Ophelia. After nearly 60 years off the Top 1000, it reemerged in 2015 at Number 975, then jumped to 580 last year. Though it hasn’t yet beaten its peak from the turn of the 20th century, when it entered the Top 300, Ophelia ranks a stunning Number 15 among Nameberry users for the first half of 2017, so it’s almost certain to climb even higher in the U.S..

We get the appeal. It sounds unusual but graceful, it starts with the trendy letter O and it has a sterling literary pedigree, coined by Shakespeare himself.

But here’s the thing about that Shakespeare tie: In Hamlet, Ophelia is a central tragic victim, the girl driven to madness and suicide, but she doesn’t have much presence in the play. Shakespeare created dozens of strong, fascinating, brilliant female characters — but Ophelia isn’t one of them.

Yet today’s parents have decided that Ophelia‘s many positive qualities outweigh the grimness of her story. The same goes for Pandora, Abel and Persephone, all of which have started climbing up the charts.

So that’s our question: How much do you care about a name’s backstory? Are there any names you love because they have great stories behind them? Or have you ever rejected a name because of its history?

Let us know your answers in the comments, and continue the conversation on Twitter or Facebook!

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