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Citing Shakespeare MLA: How to Deal With Citing and Quoting

Citing Shakespeare MLA
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Quality academic research on literature should include masterpieces of famous poets and writers. So, citing Shakespeare MLA is essential. His works contain various characters that can be used for the comparative and contrastive study of various features. Shakespeare’s plays and poems are a good choice for students to make their paperwork unique and valuable. That is why it is important to know how to cite and quote his works and collections.

When citing Shakespeare plays in MLA format, the Works Cited entry follows the format for a book but varies depending on whether you're citing from a standalone edition or a collection. For example, to cite a standalone edition of Hamlet, the citation format would be:

Works Cited entry format 

ShakespeareWilliamTitle of the Play. Edited by Editor's First Name  and Last NamePublisherYear of Publication.

Works Cited entry example

Shakespeare, William. Romeo and Juliet. Edited by Brian Gibbons, Methuen Drama, 2008.

Our papers writing service will help you get involved in the rules of presenting an entry of a writer's works in the reference list and in-text citation. Keep reading, and you will find out all the information about citing Shakespeare in MLA style.

Citing Shakespeare MLA: Single Play

When citing Shakespeare in MLA, you should be aware of presenting reference to the source used: plays from a collection or single ones with separate editions. These two options have differences in citation.

Single play typically consists of acts and scenes and is cited much like a book. By referring to a particular scene or dialogue, you should point out a number of an act, scene, and line, separated with periods. The general formula is reflected in the table below. Keep in mind punctuation used after each entry element and MLA writing format.


Author’s Surname, First Name. Play Title. Edited by Editor First Name Surname, Publisher, Year.

In-text citation

(Author’s Surname Act.Scene.Lines Numbers)

Here is an example of this citation:

Example of Citing Shakespeare MLA: Single Play

Note that numbers used in in-text citation mean act 4, scene 3, lines 305-308.

Shakespeare MLA Citation: A Play From Collection

If you use one play or several plays from Shakespeare’s collection of works, MLA citing Shakespeare helps you place a correct entry in references. When alluding to several plays, you should cite every play in your paper separately. Thus, an entry includes information about an individual work and title of collection. The general formula of play citation from collection is as follows:


Author’s Surname, First Name. Play Title. Collection Title, edition, edited by Editor First Name Surname, Publisher, Year, pp. Page Range.

In-text citation

(Author’s Surname Act.Scene.Lines) or (Play Title Act.Scene.Lines)

An example of this citation is given below:

Example of Shakespeare MLA Citation: A Play From Collection

How To Cite Shakespeare MLA: Multiple Shakespeare Plays

MLA citing Shakespeare for multiple plays is a little bit different from other citations. In this case, you should list every play in alphabetical order in the reference list. When citing particular characters and their dialogue in your work, you should mention an abbreviation of Play Title in parentheses. Generally, citation entry takes a look:


Author’s Surname, First Name. Play Title. Collection Title, edition, edited by Editor First Name Surname, Publisher, Year, Page Range.

In-text citation

(Play Title Act.Scene.Lines)

An example is as follows:

Example of How To Cite Shakespeare MLA: Multiple Shakespeare Plays

Dealing with abbreviations, you should be careful to use an appropriate system of shortenings of Shakespearian titles.

Quoting Shakespeare in MLA

Expressing real examples from an original, you often need to quote a line or even a complete dialogue sticking to MLA citation for Shakespeare. In accordance with the specificity of literary work, the page is not mentioned in citation but numbered lines instead.

When it comes to quoting a verse with up to three lines, it is taken in quotation marks, and each line is separated with slash (/). In-text citation is given after a quote.

Quoting Shakespeare in MLA Example

When a quote contains more than three lines, you should format it as a block quote. In this case, there should be an introductory sentence with semicolons at the end and present quotation close to the original. It concerns quoting dialogue too.

Quoting Shakespeare’s dialogue in MLA example

Maybe you need MLA citation for short story, open one more blog we prepared for our users. You will find it useful for sure.

Final Thoughts on Citing Shakespeare MLA

Utilizing Shakespear’s poetry, you should obligatorily know how to cite Shakespeare play MLA and place it in your reference list. Also, to express the original text as a background for research, it is necessary to quote a verse or a part of dialogue. We have presented the general formulas for citing the writer's works above. It is essential to keep those rules as it helps you avoid plagiarism in your research paper.

In case you need to conduct an analysis of various litersture works, you might also be interested in our guide on citing a short story MLA.

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Article posted on:Dec 2, 2022
Article updated on:May 8, 2023


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