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Incorporating Shakespeare into Modern Citation Protocols: MLA Guidelines and Illustrations

August 20, 2023
6 minutes read
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Integrating the distinctiveness of Shakespeare's early modern English works with the rigorous norms of contemporary citation methodologies, specifically the APA paper writing service and MLA, encapsulates a unique academic challenge. The diverse spectrum of Shakespeare's dramatic works, each an epitome of literary brilliance, mandates nuanced and accurate representation in scholastic conversations.

Foundational Principles for Citing Shakespeare

Embarking on the journey of Shakespearean references, it becomes evident that several core tenets remain steadfast, regardless of the specific drama under scrutiny:

  • Structural Adherence: An indispensable element to recall is the segmentation of Shakespeare's narratives into acts, scenes, and lines. Such delineation should be meticulously mirrored in in-text references, rendering them distinct from standard page numeration.
  • Format for Works Cited: In alignment with the conventional paradigm for book citations, referencing Shakespeare necessitates incorporating the playwright's name, drama title, pertinent editor or translator, the publishing entity, publication date, and the exact location. However, nuances emerge based on whether the citation pertains to an individual play or an anthology.

An illustrative representation for an independent drama might read: Shakespeare, William. The Norton Shakespeare. Edited by Stephen Greenblatt, 2nd edition, W.W. Norton & Company, 2008.

The associated in-text reference may adopt a format such as (Shakespeare 2.2.36-39) or, as an alternative, (Romeo and Juliet 2.2.36-39), highlighting the act, scene, and specific lines.

Referencing a Shakespearean Drama within an Anthology

The act of referencing from a compilation demands a heightened level of precision. Here, the task extends beyond merely identifying the distinct drama, compelling the inclusion of data pertaining to the overarching collection.

  1. The drama's title, emphasized in italics, accentuates its stature as an independent literary tour de force.
  2. In scenarios where multiple Shakespearean works are enumerated, an elegant triad of em dashes can replace Shakespeare's name subsequent to its initial citation. This strategy mitigates repetitiveness and sustains the coherence of the bibliography.

An exemplary citation to consider would be: Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. The Norton Shakespeare, edited by Stephen Greenblatt, 2nd edition, W.W. Norton & Company, 2008, pp. 1402-1488.

In this symphony of textual rigor and structured format, profound respect for Shakespeare's immortal works is amalgamated with the exactitude of contemporary MLA standards, producing a reference that epitomizes scholarly rigor.

Methodologies for Citing Multiple Shakespearean Works in MLA

Within the labyrinthine corridors of literary scholarship, Shakespeare's oeuvre stands as an edifice of unparalleled brilliance, necessitating a specialized citation technique when multiple opuses are cited concurrently. As scholars traverse the maze of in-text references for multiple works by the eminent dramatist, mastery over abbreviation becomes crucial. The MLA protocol, in its wisdom, promotes brevity by endorsing the italicization of notable keywords or customary abbreviations. This tactic precludes the redundancy of full titles, thereby preserving the textual coherence and ensuring clarity of citations.

Envision the scholarly process as a canvas: while the initial references sketch the framework using full titles, subsequent mentions fine-tune this with abbreviated titles. Crucially, these concise notations are restricted to parenthetical citations, sustaining the prose's fluidity.

For works with extended titles, the art of abbreviation functions like distilling the quintessence of a vast panorama. For example, "Midsummer" adeptly condenses the more elaborate "A Midsummer Night’s Dream."

Standard MLA Abbreviations for Shakespearean Works

Delving into the annals of these abbreviations unveils a codified language, with each abbreviation representing an iconic Shakespearean drama. These condensations are by no means capricious; they crystallize the narrative around its core thematic or representational element. For instance:

  • Ham. epitomizes the complex tapestry of Denmark's tormented prince, synonymous with "Hamlet."
  • TN, resonating with mirth and misinterpretation, is an emblem for "Twelfth Night."
  • With the cadence of passion and relinquishment, LLL symbolizes "Love’s Labour’s Lost."

It's pivotal to discern the omission of full stops in select abbreviations, particularly when they either mirror their complete counterparts, like “ado,” or when rendered as simple acronyms. An exhaustive compendium of such abbreviations aids in their standardized application.

Techniques for Quoting Shakespeare in MLA Format

Extracting quotes from Shakespeare—be it the profound soliloquies or the vibrant dialogues—is reminiscent of mining gems from a subterranean vault. The citation modality shifts contingent on the nature of the excerpt:

  1. Verse: Extracts from poetic compositions, particularly those pning fewer than three lines, are woven into the main text, with a forward slash (/) punctuating line transitions. For example, Hamlet's introspective musing can be articulated as “To be, or not to be, / that is the question.” A stanza bifurcation invokes the utility of a double slash (//). Extended poetic citations, conversely, adopt a block quote structure, eschewing quotation marks while observing indentation protocols.
  2. Dialogue: Dialogic sequences, pulsating with character interactions, mandate a bespoke citation style. Character denominations, rendered in bold and uppercase, prelude their respective discourses, analogous to vanguards heralding a procession. As dialogues unfold, progressive indents guide the reader, culminating in the in-text citation—indicative of the literary origin.

By adhering to these precise methodologies, Shakespeare's evocative prose and dialogues are seamlessly integrated, honoring their original splendor within the contours of contemporary academic conventions.

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