Learn and Generate Bibliographies, Citations, and Works Cited

MLA Citations for Shakespeare Examples

Following MLA citations for Shakespeare examples, such as those below, helps to ensure you cite his work correctly. Writing papers about Shakespeare’s life or his plays is easy to do with plenty of open source resources available for your research. If you’re citing his works, then use the title of the play as the first element. If you’re writing about William Shakespeare, in general, then use his name as the first element.

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How to Format Shakespeare Citations in MLA Style

Use MLA’s nine core elements to write your works cited entry, following this basic format:

Works Cited Format

Author Last Name, First Name. Title of Play. Edited by first name, last name, version, number, Publisher, Publication Date, Location.

In-Text Citation Format

While writing your in-text citation, include the title of the play, the act, the scene and lines for the first in-text citation.

(Title of Play Act. Scene. Lines)

Note: Abbreviate the title of the play in subsequent citations.


Example Works Cited

Shakespeare, William. The Tempest. Edited by Howard H. Furness, 6th ed., vol. 9, Classic Books Company, 2001, Google Books.

Example In-Text Citation

(Tempest 1.2.25-30)

(Tmp 1.2.38)

Examples of MLA Citations for Shakespeare

MLA citations for Shakespeare examples for Shakespeare book

As mentioned above, the way that you format an MLA citation for Shakespeare depends on what you are using as your source.


If, for example, you are citing an anthology that contains some of Shakespeare’s works, you should follow this example. Note that the title of the play is in quotations and the title of the anthology is italicized.

Example Works Cited

Shakespeare, William. “The Taming of the Shrew.” The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. Wordsworth Editions, 2007, 329-358.

Example In-Text Citation

(Shakespeare 330)

Works About Shakespeare

If you are referencing a work that discusses the Shakespeare himself, then your MLA citations should follow this format:

Example Works Cited

Greenblatt, Stephen. Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare. WW Norton & Company, 2005, Google Books.

Example In-Text Citation

(Greenblatt 234)

Abbreviations for Shakespeare Plays

Consult your MLA 8 edition for a full list of abbreviations used for Shakespeare plays. Listed on pages 100-101, these abbreviations will make your life easier.

  • Follow the same basic MLA format for books or anthologies.
  • Use abbreviations, following MLA recommendations.
  • Do not place a period after the abbreviations.
  • Do not place a period after a short word such as ado.


Enjoying Shakespeare’s Plays

Learning about Shakespeare is a common assignment for students. Whether you’re writing about his life as a playwright or talking about the young love of Romeo and Juliet, you’ll enjoy learning about the fascinating Renaissance era.

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