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Citation Guide: MLA & APA: Drama

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Sample Citations

Choose from the list below.

 

MLA Style Guide -- DRAMA

Print

You can find the latest editions of the MLA style manual at all PSCC Libraries:

MLA: MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th edition

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Online

Note: To save your citations for future use, you must create an individual (free) account in each of the citation programs listed below.

When to Cite

Are you...

  • using an exact quotation from another's work?
  • paraphrasing wording from another's work?
  • summarizing another's idea or research?
  • using obscure facts or figures?

Don't forget to cite your source!

When citing plays by William Shakespeare, you may abbreviate the title of a work if you will cite it frequently in your writing. 

  • Use the full title at its first mention in your text, followed by the abbreviation in parentheses. E.g. "In All's Well That Ends Well (AWW), Shakepeare..."
  • Any subsequent references to the title may be abbreviated.
  • See the MLA Handbook, sections 7.7 & 7.7.2 for more information. The Handbook is available at the reference desk/ERC service desk at all campuses.

See the document below for commonly-used Shakespeare abbreviations.

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Sample In-Text Citations

Citing Drama

The text of a play is cited differently from traditional prose works. Because plays are often printed in many editions and anthologies, it is customary to cite the act, scene, and line number rather than the page number in your in-text citations.

Tips for citing plays:

  • Begin with the broadest division (usually act) and continue through the smallest division (usually scene or line).
  • Separate each division with a period. Label each division so the reader knows exactly where to find the quotation in the text.
  • Some plays will contain more or fewer divisions than act, scene, & line. Use as much information as is available in the text.

If you have included the author's name elsewhere in your paper, you do not need to include it in your parenthetical citation. Instead, include the first significant word of the title.

 

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Quoting a Single Character MLA 6.4.8

If you quote a remark from one character, you can incorporate it into the body of the paragraph.

Example 1:

Nora's epiphany occurs when she realizes her husband will never reciprocate the sacrifices she's made to protect his pride. She finally stands up to Helmer, telling him, "You neither think nor talk like the man I could join myself to" (Doll act 3).

(Note: Ibsen's A Doll House is divided by act only. This will be the only division you can cite.)

Example 2:

Although Oedipus blames the gods for his tragic fate, he admits that his latest misfortune is his own doing when he cries, "But the blinding hand was my own! How could I bear to see when all my sight was horror everywhere?" (Oedipus exodus. strophe 2. lines 114-116).

(Note: Oedipus Rex is broken into numerous divisions; all available divisions are included in the citation.)

 

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Quoting Dialogue (2 or More Characters) MLA 3.7.4

Tips for quoting dialogue:

  • Begin the quotation on a new line.
  • Set the quotation off from the body of your paper with one inch indentations.
  • If a character's speech continues onto the next line of your paper, indent subsequent lines an additional 1/4 inch (about 3 spaces).
  • Double-space each line.
  • Write the characters' names in capital letters followed by a period.
  • Do not use quotation marks.

Example 1:

      OEDIPUS. Ah, what net has God been weaving for me?

      IOCASTÊ. Oedipus! What does this trouble you?

      OEDIPUS. Do not ask me yet. First, tell me how Laïos looked, and tell me how old he was.

      IOCASTÊ. He was tall, his hair just touched with white; his form was not unlike your own.

      OEDIPUS. I think that I myself may be accursed by my own ignorant edict. (Oedipus scene 2. antistrophe 2. lines 211-216)

 

Example 2:

      KROGSTAD. Yes, yes, yes, to the point: there's still time, and I'm advising you to use your

         influence to prevent it.

      NORA. But Mr. Krogstad, I have absolutely no influence.

      KROGSTAD. You haven't? I thought you were just saying -

      NORA. You shouldn't take me so literally! How can you believe that I have any such influence

          over my husband? (Doll act 1)

    

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Works Cited

Ibsen, Henrik. A Doll House. Trans. Rolf Fjelde. Literature: Reading, Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Ed. Robert DiYanni. 6th ed.

         Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2007. 1666-1715. Print.

Sophocles. Oedipus Rex. Trans. Dudley Fitts and Robert Fitzgerald. Literature: Reading Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Ed. Robert

         DiYanni. 6th ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2007. 1307-1346. Print.

Sample Citations

The format of your citation will depend on the source of the play. Plays are usually published in one of the following sources:

  • A literature or drama anthology
  • A collection of one author's works
  • As a single volume

Tips for Citing Drama:

  • If the play is in an anthology, look at the title page to see if there is an editor.
  • Always begin the citation with the playwright, NOT the editor of the anthology.
  • Italicize the title of the play. If the play is in an anthology, italicize both the title of the play and the title of the anthology.

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Play in an Anthology or Collection MLA 5.5.6

  Anthology, Playwright and Editor

Begin the citation with the playwright, not the editor of the anthology.

Example:

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A Collection of Plays by a Single Playwright

If the play is published in a collection that has no editor on the title page, use the anthology format, but omit the editor.

If you are citing more than one play from the same collection, create a citation for each play.

Example:

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Play Published as a Single Volume MLA 5.5.2

Cite the play as you would a book.

  

Example:

Stoppard, Tom. The Real Thing. Boston: Faber, 1984. Print.

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Play in an eBook MLA 5.6.2c

Cite the play as you would a print book, followed by:

  • The name of the database in which you accessed the eBook
  • The medium of publication (Web)
  • The most recent date you accessed the eBook 

   

Example:

Shepard, Sam. Buried Child: A Play. Rev. ed. New York: Vintage, 2006. Ebrary. Web. 16 Apr. 2013.

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A Live Performance MLA 5.7.4

   

The example below is for a live performance.

See the appropriate citation format for:

   

Example: