The Correct Way to Cite Shakespearean Works
If you quote directly or paraphrase from a source, you must cite the source within the text. This can be problematic when you are citing a classical work such as a Shakespearean play, because classical works are published in so many different formats that page numbers become meaningless. Luckily, both the Modern Language Association (MLA) and the American Psychological Association (APA) set guidelines for the proper in-text citation of Shakespearean plays.
Citing Shakespeare in MLA Format
List the abbreviation for the title of the play you are citing. The MLA lists abbreviations for all plays; see the reference list of this article for more information. The abbreviation for the title of the play should appear in italics.
List the act, scene and lines that you are referring to. These should be separated by periods. Enclose your citation in parentheses. For example: (Mac. 1.3.14-17) refers to Act 1, Scene 3, Lines 14 to 17 of "Macbeth."
Omit the abbreviation for the title if the play you are referring to is clear from the context of your paper. In this case, the citation would simply appear as follows: (1.3.14-17)
Format your reference list entry in the following format: Author. Title of Play. Name of Editor. City of Publication, Publisher, Year of Publication. Medium of Publication. For example: Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. Ed. James Smith. Boston, English Play Press, 2010. Print. Be sure to italicize the name of the play.
Citing Shakespeare in APA Format
List "Shakespeare" as the author's name, followed by a comma.
List the year of translation, followed by a comma, if translated. For example: trans. 2010,
List the act, scene, and lines you are citing, separated by periods. For example: 1.3.14-17
Enclose the entire citation within parentheses. For example: (Shakespeare, trans. 2010, 1.3.14-17). Only use this if the play you are citing is obvious and has been mentioned in your paper. If the play appears in the original Shakespearean English, you need only give the year of publication. In this case, omit "trans." from your citation. For example: (Shakespeare, 2010, 1.3.14-17).
Format your reference list entry in the following format: Author. (Year). Title. (Translator.). City, State of Publication: Publisher. (Original work published year). For example: Shakespeare, W. (2010). Macbeth. (B. Smith, Trans.). Boston, MA: English Play Press. (Original work published 1699). Be sure to italicize the name of the play. If the publication appears in the original Shakespearean, omit translation information form your citation. For example: Shakespeare, W. (2010). Macbeth. Boston, MA: English Play Press. (Original work published 1699).