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MLA Guide

This guide contains information to help you cite your sources in MLA format.

Citing a Play: Shakespeare, In-Text Citation

Format: (Act. Scene. Line Number(s))

Example: In Hamlet, Ophelia sings about different flowers and plants in a display of her descent into madness:

OPHELIA. There's rosemary, that's for remembrance. Pray you, love, remember. And there is pansies,

that's for thoughts.

LAERTES. A document in madness! Thoughts and remembrance fitted.

OPHELIA. There's fennel for you, and columbines. There's rue for you, and here's some for me. We may call it herb of grace o' Sundays. O, you must wear your rue with a difference! There's a daisy.  I would give you some violets, but they wither'd all when my father died. They say he made a good end. [Sings] For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy. (4.5.171-179)

*Note: If the lines in the play are not numbered, include the page number instead.

*Note: If you have used the author's name or the play's title in the signal phrase before introducing the quote, you do not need to include it in your in-text citation.

*Note: When quoting dialogue or lines from a play, indent the line a half inch (one tab) from the left margin. Include the character names in all capital letters, followed by a period. If the dialogue is more than one line on the page long, indent the remaining lines of dialogue by a half inch.

Sample Drama Paper

Citing a Play: Shakespeare, Works Cited

If your play was published as a stand-alone book, it is the same as a MLA Book Citation

Format: Author Last Name, Author First Name. Title of Play in Italics. Edition, Publisher, Year. Database

Name in Italics (if electronic).

Example: Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Simon & Schuster, 1992.

*Note: if using a print book, skip the database name.


If your play was published in an anthology or a collection:

Format: Author Last Name, Author First Name. Title of Play in Italics. Collection or Anthology Title, edited by

Editor Name, edition, vol. #, Publisher, Year, Page Numbers.

Example: Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. The Norton Anthology of World Literature, edited by Martin

Puchner, 3rd ed., vol. C, W.W. Norton and Company, 2012, pp. 652-753.

Citing a Play, Ancient Greek/Roman, In-Text Citation

Format: (Act. Scene. Line Number(s))

Example: In Antigone, Antigone and Ismene discuss the risks of burying their brother:

ISMENE. I'm not insulting them! But how can I defy the city? I don't have the strength.

ANTIGONE. Then make that your excuse. I'll heal with earth the body of the brother I love.

ISMENE. I feel so sorry for you. And afraid. (95-99)

*Note: If the lines in the play are not numbered, include the page number instead.

*Note: If you have used the author's name or the play's title in the signal phrase before introducing the quote, you do not need to include it in your in-text citation.

*Note: When quoting dialogue or lines from a play, indent the line a half inch (one tab) from the left margin. Include the character names in all capital letters, followed by a period. If the dialogue is more than one line on the page long, indent the remaining lines of dialogue by a half inch.

Citing a Play, Ancient Greek/Roman, Works Cited

If your play was published as a stand-alone book, it is the same as a MLA Book Citation

Format: Author Last Name, Author First Name. Title of Play in Italics. Edition, Publisher, Year. Database Name in Italics (if electronic).

Example: Sophocles. Antigone. Translated by David Mulroy, University of Wisconsin Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central.

*Note: if using a print book, skip the database name.


If your play was published in an anthology or a collection:

Format: Author Last Name, Author First Name. Title of Play in ItalicsCollection or Anthology Title, edited by

Editor Name, edition, vol. #, Publisher, Year, Page Numbers.

Example: Sophocles. Antigone. The Norton Anthology of World Literature, edited by Martin Puchner, translated by Robert Bagg, 3rd ed., vol. C, W.W. Norton and Company, 2012, pp. 747-783.

Citing a Play, Modern, In-Text Citation

Format: (Author Last Name page number)

*Note: If the text of the play includes line numbers on the side of the page, then replace the page number with the act, scene, and line numbers.

Format: (Author's Last Name Act. Scene. Line Number(s))


Example: In A Raisin in the Sun, Mama and Walter have differing views on the importance of money:

MAMA. Son--how come you talk so much 'bout money?

WALTER. (With immense passion) Because it is life, Mama!

MAMA. (Quietly) Oh-- (Very Quietly) So now it's life. Once upon a time freedom used to be life--now it's

money. I guess the world really do change... (Hansberry 74)

*Note: If you have used the author's name or the play's title in the signal phrase before introducing the quote, you do not need to include it in your in-text citation.

*Note: When quoting dialogue or lines from a play, indent the line a half inch (one tab) from the left margin. Include the character names in all capital letters, followed by a period. If the dialogue is more than one line on the page long, indent the remaining lines of dialogue by a half inch.

Citing a Play, Modern, Works Cited

If your play was published as a stand-alone book, it is the same as a MLA Book Citation

Format: Author Last Name, Author First Name. Title of Play in Italics. Edition, Publisher, Year. Database Name in Italics (if electronic).

Example: Hansberry, Lorraine. A Raisin in the Sun. Vintage Books, 1995.

*Note: if using a print book, skip the database name.


If your play was published in an anthology or a collection:

Format: Author Last Name, Author First Name. Title of Play in ItalicsCollection or Anthology Title, edited by

Editor Name, edition, vol. #, Publisher, Year, Page Numbers.

Example: Hansberry, Lorraine. A Raisin in the Sun. The Norton Anthology of African American Literature,

edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Valerie Smith, 3rd ed. vol. 2, W.W. Norton and Company, 2014, pp. 470-532.