Character I’d Name a Child After: From Shakespeare

I suppose it is probably fairly typical for females to keep a mental “List of Names I Like (For Future Reference).”  My own list isn’t long.  (And don’t tell my future kids, but they’re probably all getting names that had a test-run in one of my own short stories…)   However, there are significantly more male names than female names on the list.  In the interest of being fully prepared for all future eventualities, where am I to find a name for  my female progeny?  (Heaven forfend my future husband should have any thoughts on the matter. Of course he won’t.  That’s not how the world works.)  Thus, I have made it my aspiration to name a daughter after a Shakespearean heroine.

I’ve chosen Miranda.

Mostly I reached this decision because The Tempest is a delightful play; I love Shakespeare’s late romances and it contains one of my favorite lines from the Bard. But more importantly, it is Shakespeare’s one work that may be considered an addition to the fantasy genre.  Miranda’s character is certainly young (she’s fifteen), but she has a gentle heart and a fresh, untainted view of the world, which fits well with the meaning of her name: “worthy of admiration or wonder.”  Her father is a sorcerer, and she is associated with art and magic.

Miranda and her father, Prospero, as illustrated by Charles Vess in Sandman.

So, if I’m going to name a child after a character in a fantasy novel, Shakespeare seemed like the safest way to go.  There won’t be any horrifying moment of discovery when my child realizes, “What?  You named me after the hero in a pulp fiction sword and sorcery novel with tacky cover art?” * Miranda is literate and intellectual and only secretly geeky if you want it to be.  And it’s beautiful, unusual, and may be shortened to a nickname without unfortunate effect.

*Not that some of my favorite books wouldn’t fit just such a description.  But it may not be the most confidence-inspiring explanation for why your parents chose your name.  Though I did discover recently that my favorite male name also happens to be the hero in a fantasy novel.  La!


11 thoughts on “Character I’d Name a Child After: From Shakespeare

    • The only production I’ve seen of it was the one my college put on my freshman year. (They also did “Return to the Forbidden Planet”–a comic musical parody of the sci-fi retelling of the Tempest “Forbidden Planet.) I want to see the new movie version, actually. Maybe I can get my hands on it this summer. Hopefully, there will be time for lots of cool stuff to be read and watched then…

  1. Huh! That’s actually quite a nice name. I confess that it may be difficult for me to separate Miranda from Serenity, but that won’t prove too huge a deterrent. I don’t actually know anyone named Miranda, and that’s kind of nice when considering naming a child, for all the niceness that can indeed come from naming a child after someone important to you. And it has a dignity and grace to it, without being unnecessarily snobbish. Miranda. Hm. I like it.

    • Speaking of Shakespearean heroines, there’s also Marina (I wouldn’t name two kids Miranda and Marina, though, would I??) and Imogen. Actually, I really like Imogen as another namesake-worthy character. (And her husband is named Posthumus. Haha for awesome-weird names.) Also, all of these characters are from Shakespeare’s late romances. A trend? YES.

      • (Sorry for the late reply! Been busy lately.)

        Posthumous! In Shakespeare? That’s name I expect from Monty Python! Haha. Well, as has been prov’d, I need to read more of that lesser-known Shakespeare stuff that you guys keep intriguing me about. The name Imogen makes me shudder, for some reason, like a witch’s name, but a worthy character can change such associations.

  2. The name Miranda is an excellent one. I love the sound and meaning, and the fact that, as you say, it can be shortened without ill effect. Miranda in the Tempest, however, never caught my attention. She is very sweet, but I always feel that she is shuffled off to the side of the story. Maybe that’s just the productions I’ve seen, though.

    As pretty as Marina is, it is more problematic, lest your child think she has been named for a boat dock, or her foes add a couple letters to get Marinara. See? I think too much. 😉

    • Haha, true. I think I like Marina’s character more than her name, actually. I agree that Miranda is not the biggest attention-grabbing role. Mostly, I like the symbolism of the play and thus chose her for being part of it. Now, Imogen, she’s pretty kick-butt…

  3. Hmm… I have a friend who is wanting to start a Shakespeare troupe that will (unlike a certain other local company) do un-gimmicky productions of the less-worn plays. Currently, we rarely get anything other than Hamlet, R&J, Macbeth, Tempest, Much Ado, the various comedies with twins, and Midsummer. Oh, and sometimes Julius Caesar. I want some Lear! Gimmie the histories! Give me something I’ve never seen preformed! And for Mercy’s Sake Stop With the Gimmicks!
    …sorry. I’m a bit Bard-starved at present.

  4. Pingback: Conclusion « Egotist's Club

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