Teachers assign essays on William Shakespeare in humanities classes frequently, using MLA citation style. Learning about Shakespeare’s works can be fun and there are quite a bit of resources available to help you research and write about them as well.
Creating In-Text Citations for Works by Shakespeare
While creating in-text or parenthetical citations, list:
- Italicize title of the play
- No page numbers
- Separate by periods
- Enclose in parentheses
Use full title of play in first in-text citation, abbreviate it thereafter.
(Ham. 2.2. 383-386)
If you are writing about one play, use the author’s name in the citation rather than the title of the play.
(Shakespeare 2.2. 383-386)
MLA Abbreviations for Works by Shakespeare
Since the works of William Shakespeare are cited frequently, MLA style requires using abbreviations for in-text (parenthetical) citations. Use the full name in the first parenthetical citation, then abbreviate thereafter. Abbreviations are created by shortening the title to its noun phrase.
Here are some examples of abbreviated MLA style Shakespeare titles:
- Antony and Cleopatra
- Much Ado About Nothing Ado
- Romeo and Juliet
- The Taming of the Shrew
- The Tempest
- The Winter’s Tale WT
Note: No period after full words such as ado or titles abbreviated to initials WT.
A full list of abbreviations is available in the MLA Handbook eighth edition, pages 100-101.
Works Cited Entries
Creating works cited entries follows the same MLA 8 rules as any other work.
Citing Sources Written by Shakespeare
Follow the guidelines for citing a play published as a book using the MLA Core Elements.
Elements 3 – 9 are within the container
- Title of Source,
- Title of Container,
- Other Contributors,
- Publication date,
Author. Title of Play. Editor or Translator. Publisher, Publication Date. Medium of Publication.
Citing a Play Published in an Anthology:
Citing Sources Written About Shakespeare
Check out this fun yet useful resource to learn more about Shakespeare’s works.
Creating works cited entries for works about Shakespeare and his plays, follows the same pattern as any other author. Using the MLA Container System and following the core elements helps you organize your sources correctly.