• Home   /  
  • Archive by category "1"

How To Use Play Quotes In Essay

Works Cited:

  • To cite a Shakespeare play or poem from a book, anthology, or film on our works cited page we would use the same format as we would for any other author's work. That is the easy part. Here are the two books I am using:

Shakespeare, William, and Cyrus Hoy. Hamlet. New York: W.W. Norton, 1996. Print.

Shakespeare, William. Love Poems and Sonnets of William Shakespeare. New York: Doubleday, 1991. Print.

  • Here is how to cite a film, DVD, of VHS versionof a Shakespearean work:

Branagh, Kenneth, dir. William Shakespeare's Hamlet. U.K.: Castle Rock Entertainment, 1996. VHS.

  • In-text citation for a film, DVD, VHS:

We may not need one. It is possible to simply refer to Branagh's William Shakespeare's Hamlet in the text of our document as there are no page numbers to refer to. However, if we want to include a direct quote, we could use the in-text citation (Branagh, William Shakespeare's Hamlet).

  • Here is how to cite a live performance:

Hamlet. By William Shakespeare. Dir. Dominic Dromgoole and Bill Buckhurs. Shakespeare's Globe, London. 25 April 2014. Performance.

  • In-text citation for a live performace:

Dromgoole and Buckhur's Hamlet or (Dromgoole and Buckhur, Hamlet)

Play In-text (parenthetical) Citations:

If we are writing a paper that refers to more than one work, we will use the play name in our citation rather than the author. If we are writing about one play then we would replace the play title in the parenthetical citation for the author's last name. 

  • Italicize play titles: Hamlet (Ham.)
  • After we introduce the full play title and it's abbreviation in parentheses, we can use the abbreviation to refer to the play in the rest of our paper. Here is a list of abbreviations for play titles.
  • Use Arabic numerals to refer to act, scene, and line numbers (no page numbers are listed): 3.2.10 or 3.2.10-25 if we are covering information from lines 10 through 25. If the line number are 100 or higher, we use the first whole line number 265 and the last two digits of the second line number: 5.2.265-75.
  • If referring to an act and scene of a play in your the body of your text, format it as such: In 2.2, Hamlet's despondency becomes the subject of mockery amongst his peers.
  • If we are only referring to one work by Shakespeare in our paper than our parenthetical citation would look like this: (Shakespeare 3.2.115)
  • If we are referring to more than one work by Shakespeare in our paper, after we introduce our play Hamlet (Ham.)..., our first parenthetical citation will look like this: (Ham. 3.2.115)
  • If we have not  yet introduced the play in the body of our paper, the first parenthetical citation will look like this: (Hamlet 3.2.115)

Quoting Verse and Prose:

Many of Shakespeare's plays are in a combination of verse and prose. The lesser characters often are written in prose, while the primary characters are usually written in verse. There are different rules for formatting verse and prose.

  • For quoting both verse and prose remember to always introduce the scene or character who is speaking. I will not be including those transitions prior to my quotations here, but that does not mean we don't need them in our papers. 
  • If quoting three lines or less of verse use the short quotation format and use a / to indicate line breaks. Keep all original punctuation and incorporate it into the text of your paper. 
  • If quoting four lines or more of verse break the lines as they are shown in the text of the play. Do not use / to indicate line breaks. Keep all original punctuation and format as a block quote.
  • If you would like to quote verse or prose, but want to leave out parts of a sentence or phrase, simply use ellipses to mark the left out text: "Heaven make me free of it! I follow thee / ...Wretched queen, adieu!" 

Play Quotations (short verse):

  • For quotations that refer to one character and are under four lines of verse, we can use "Quotation Marks." The citation will come between the last quotation mark and the period.
  • We will want to use slashes / to indicate line breaks.

"Doomed for a certain term to walk the night, / And for the day confined to fast in fires, / Til the foul crime done in my days of nature"

(Shakespeare 1.5.10-13).

  • Of course we would use (Hamlet 1.5.10) depending on the number of works by Shakespeare being referred to in our paper. For instance if we were comparing his tragedies and comedies and relying on several different works for source material, we would want to follow the MLA citation rule for citing several works by one author.

Play Quotations (short prose):

"Happily he is the second time to come to them, for they say an old man is twice a child" (Shakespeare 2.2.354-55)

Play Quotations (long verse):

  • For quotations that refer to one character and are longer than three lines of verse or four lines of prose we will want to double indent (1" or two taps of the tab key) and create a block quote. 
  • We will not use quotation marks or italicize the quote, the indentation will be indication enough:

                              He took me by the wrist, and held me hard, 

                              Then goes he to the length of all his arm,

                              And with his other hand thus o'er his brow, 

                              He falls to such perusal of my face

                              As  'a would draw it. Long stayed he so.

                              At last, a little shaking mine arm,

                              And thrice his head thus waving up and down,

                              He raised a sigh so piteous and profound 

                              As it did seem to shatter all his bulk, 

                              And end his being. (Shakespeare 2.1.86-95)

  • Notice that the parenthetical citation comes after the period in a long quote and that there is not a period after the citation.

Play Quotations (long prose):

  • We still will not use quotation marks or italicize the quote, however, we will not worry about line breaks and only take into account the double indentation and citation style.

                            Here lies the water; good. Here stands the man;

                            good. If the man go to this water and drowns himself,

                            it is,will he, nill he, he goes--mark you that. But if the

                            water come to him and drown him, he drowns not

                            himself. Argal, he that is not guilty of his own

                            death shortens not his own life. (Shakespeare 5.1.13-15)

Play Quotations (dialogue between two or more characters):

  • Double indent the names of the characters.
  • Capitalize each letter in the name of the character.
  • Indent the text of the quote one quarter inch further than we indent the character's name.
  • Keep original formatting and punctuation.

                              HAMLET. Then is doomsday near. But your news is not

                                   true. Let me question more in particular. What have you,

                                   my good friends, deserved at the hands of Fortune,

                                   that she sends you to prison hither?

                              GUILDENSTERN. Prison, my lord?

                              HAMLET. Denmark's a prison.

                              ROSENCRANTZ. Then is the world one. (2.2.231-37)

Poem and Sonnet Quotations:

  • Follow the same guidelines set by the plays for prose and verse.
  • Remember to use line numbers and not page numbers.

Using literary quotations

Use the guidelines below to learn how to use literary quotations.


 

For further information, check out Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Acknowledging Sources, or you may wish to see when the Writing Center is next offering its workshop entitled Intro to Literary Analysis.

Incorporating Quotations

  • As you choose quotations for a literary analysis, remember the purpose of quoting.

  • Your paper develops an argument about what the author of the text is doing--how the text "works."

  • You use quotations to support this argument; that is, you select, present, and discuss material from the text specifically to "prove" your point--to make your case--in much the same way a lawyer brings evidence before a jury.

  • Quoting for any other purpose is counterproductive.

top

Punctuating and Indenting Quotations

For the most part, you must reproduce the spelling, capitalization, and internal punctuation of the original exactly.

The following alterations are acceptable:

Changing the closing punctuation

You may alter the closing punctuation of a quotation in order to incorporate it into a sentence of your own:

"Books are not life," Lawrence emphasized.

Commas and periods go inside the closing quotation marks; the other punctuation marks go outside.

Lawrence insisted that books "are not life"; however, he wrote exultantly about the power of the novel.

Why does Lawrence need to point out that "Books are not life"?

Using the slash when quoting poetry

When quoting lines of poetry up to three lines long (which are not indented, see Indenting quotations), separate one line of poetry from another with a slash mark (see examples in Incorporating Quotations into Sentences).

Using Ellipsis Points for Omitted Material

If for the sake of brevity you wish to omit material from a quoted passage, use ellipsis points (three spaced periods) to indicate the omission.

(See this sample paragraph. The writer quoted only those portions of the original sentences that related to the point of the analysis.)

Using Square Brackets when Altering Material

When quoting, you may alter grammatical forms such as the tense of a verb or the person of a pronoun so that the quotation conforms grammatically to your own prose; indicate these alterations by placing square brackets around the changed form.

In the following quotation "her" replaces the "your" of the original so that the quote fits the point of view of the paper (third person):

When he hears Cordelia's answer, Lear seems surprised, but not dumbfounded. He advises her to "mend [her] speech a little." He had expected her to praise him the most; but compared to her sisters', her remarks seem almost insulting (1.1.95).

top

Indenting Quotations

Prose or verse quotations less than four lines long are not indented. For quotations of this length, use the patterns described above.

Indent "longer" quotations in a block about ten spaces in from the left margin; when a quotation is indented, quotation marks are not used.

The MLA Handbook (1995) recommends that indented quotations be double-spaced, but many instructors prefer them single-spaced. The meaning of "longer" varies slightly from one style system to another, but a general rule is to indent quotations that are more than two (or three) lines of verse or three (or four) lines of prose.

Indent dialogue between characters in a play. Place the speaker's name before the speech quoted:

CAESAR: Et tu, Brute! Then, fall, Caesar!

CINNA: Liberty! Freedom! Tyranny is dead! (3.1.77-78)

For more information see Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Acknowledging Sources - How to Quote a Source.

top

Emphasizing Your Ideas

What to include in literary analysis

Take a look at this sample paragraph. It includes 3 basic kinds of materials:

  1. statements expressing the student's own ideas about the relationship Woolf is creating;

  2. data or evidence from the text in summarized, paraphrased, and quoted form; and

  3. discussion of how the data support the writer's interpretation.

The quotations are used in accordance with the writer's purpose, i.e. to show how the development of Mrs. Ramsey's feelings indicates something about her personality.

Should I quote?

Quoting is only one of several ways to present textual material as evidence.

You can also refer to textual data, summarize, and paraphrase. You will often want merely to refer or point to passages (as in the third sentence in the sample paragraph) that contribute to your argument.

In other cases you will want to paraphrase, i.e. "translate" the original into your own words, again instead of quoting. Summarize or paraphrase when it is not so much the language of the text that justifies your position, but the substance or content.

Quote selectively

Similarly, after you have decided that you do want to use material in quoted form, quote only the portions of the text specifically relevant to your point.

Think of the text in terms of units--words, phrases, sentences, and groups of sentences (paragraphs, stanzas)--and use only the units you need.

If it is particular words or phrases that "prove" your point, you do not need to quote the sentences they appear in; rather, incorporate the words and phrases into sentences expressing your own ideas.

top

Maintaining Clarity and Readability

Introduce your quotations

Introduce a quotation either by indicating what it is intended to show or by naming its source, or both.

For non-narrative poetry, it's customary to attribute quotations to "the speaker"; for a story with a narrator, to "the narrator."

For plays, novels, and other works with characters, identify characters as you quote them.

Do not use two quotations in a row, without intervening material of your own.

For further information see Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Acknowledging Sources - How to Quote a Source.

Pay attention to verb tense

Tense is a tricky issue. It's customary in literary analysis to use the present tense; it is at the present time that you (and your reader) are looking at the text.

But events in a narrative or drama take place in a time sequence. You will often need to use a past tense to refer to events that took place before the moment you are presently discussing:

When he hears Cordelia's answer, Lear seems surprised, but not dumbfounded. He advises her to "mend [her] speech a little." He had expected her to praise him the most; but compared to her sisters', her remarks seem almost insulting (1.1.95).

top

Documenting Quotations

Follow your course instructor's guidelines for documenting sources. If your instructor hasn't told you which system to use to document sources, ask.

Keep in mind that when you are writing a paper about the same text and quoting from the same edition that everyone else in the class is, instructors will often allow you to use informal documentation. In this case just include the page number in parentheses after the quotation or reference to the text. To be sure, though, you should ask your course instructor.

The documentation style used in this pages is that presented in the 1995 MLA Handbook, but other style systems are commonly used. The Writing Center has information about the rules of documentation in general and about a number of the most common systems, such as APA, APSA, CBE, Chicago/Turabian, MLA, and Numbered References.

top

One thought on “How To Use Play Quotes In Essay

Leave a comment

L'indirizzo email non verrà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *