Ophelia, Desdemona, Juliet and… Virgilia?


I was trying to find a name for two minor characters in my novel; I don’t think they will make any more than a fleeting appearance, but even so, I want to them to have the right sort of name, and a name which would be ‘normal’ for when they were born. It would be unrealistic having a name like Kourtney for a woman born in 1960, where as for a baby born in 2006 it might be perfect. So, for these two characters, who happen to be twin girls born in the 1940’s I wanted them to have matching first names so i chose Marianne and Sally-Anne, and then thought their mother might have wanted a more fancy name for their middle name, and might have chosen a Shakespearian heroine.

I tried to think of Shakespearian heroines and my mind went a blank, so I looked them up and very soon settled on Juliet and Rosalind… However when I was looking down the lists I found, although there were many names I knew, obviously , having studied and taught Shakespeare, I was rather surprised at how many I didn’t know!

Here is a little quiz… which I am sure you will get right… who are these Shakespearian women and what plays do they appear in?

  1. Porcia Catonis
  2. Charmion
  3. Eleanor
  4. Emilia
  5. Margery Jourdemayne
  6. Maria
  7. Mariana
  8. Rosaline
  9. Virgilia
  10. Volumnia



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