Is this a dagger I see before me? No. It\u2019s a blog post about citing Shakespeare in MLA referencing. And while we\u2019d hate to be immodest, we think this post is far more useful than a dagger (especially if you\u2019re currently writing an essay about the legendary Bard of Avon). How, then, do you cite a Shakespeare play when using MLA referencing? Let us explain.\n\n\n[caption id="attachment_5865" align="aligncenter" width="381"] The origin of 'Big Willie Style', way before Will Smith came along.[\/caption]\nCiting Shakespeare in MLA Referencing\nWhen citing Shakespeare, you will need to adapt the basic MLA citation format slightly. The biggest difference is that, rather than page numbers, you need to give act, scene and line numbers:\nMacbeth\u2019s soliloquy lays the ground for his later torment, betraying his mental fragility early on (Shakespeare 2.1.33\u201361).\nHere,\u00a0 we\u2019re citing act 2, scene 1, lines 33\u201361 of the play Macbeth. Most MLA citations of Shakespeare will use this citation format. Some editions of Shakespeare plays feature paragraph numbers instead of line numbers, but you can use these for pinpoint citations as well.\n\nCiting Multiple Shakespeare Plays\nWe have cited \u2018Shakespeare\u2019 in the example above because he is the author. However, if you are referencing more than one Shakespeare play in the same essay, you will need to use the play title in citations instead. For example, we could cite both Othello and Macbeth as follows:\nShakespeare\u2019s characters often express regret immediately after a misdeed, such as when Othello describes Desdemona\u2019s death as \u2018horrible and grim\u2019 (Othello 5.2.236) or when Macbeth admits to being \u2018afraid to think\u2019 about what he has done (Macbeth 2.2.64).\nHere, we\u2019re citing act 5, scene 2, line 236 of Othello and act 2, scene 2, line 64 of Macbeth. Using the play titles in the citations makes it absolutely clear which text we\u2019re citing each time.\nIn addition, if you're citing multiple plays repeatedly, you can abbreviate the title of each play in citations. Othello, for example, could be cited as just Oth. to minimise repetition:\nIago's reaction speaks volumes at this point (Oth. 3.3.234).\nYou will still need to give the full title in the Works Cited list, though.\n\nShakespeare in the Works Cited List\nIn the Works Cited list, standalone Shakespeare plays are cited in the same way as any book:\nSurname, First Name. Title. Editor\/Translator (if applicable). Publisher, Year of Publication.\nIn practice, then, we could cite a print edition of Macbeth as follows:\nShakespeare, William. Macbeth. Edited by Keith Carabine. Wordsworth Editions, 2005.\nThe format is a little different if the play is part of an anthology. In this case, you would cite it similar to a chapter from an edited book. For example:\nShakespeare, William. Macbeth. The Oxford Shakespeare: The Complete Works, edited by Stanley Wells and Gary Taylor, Oxford University Press, 2005, pp. 969\u2013994.\nIn this case, we have the details of the container volume and the page range for the play as well. One thing worth noting here is that MLA recommends italicising the titles of plays even when they are part of a larger anthology. This differs from a book chapter title, which would be in quote marks.\nAnd if you\u2019d like anyone to check the referencing in your writing, give our specialist proofreading services a try.