Citations to Shakespeare's plays
Quoting Richard II (and others):
- Underline play titles, as in A Midsummer Night's Dream, As You Like It, or Richard II.
- When you quote from a play, divide lines of verse with slashes the way you would if quoting poetry. You can tell a passage is in verse by examining it to see if every line starts with a capital letter, regardless of whether the line starts a sentence.
Example: At the end of the play, Richard tries to regain his kingdom by imagining his thoughts as his subjects, "And these same thoughts people this little world,/ In humours like the people of this world" (V.i.9-10).
- When you quote prose from a play, no slashes are necessary. You can recognize prose by the fact that, in prose, every sentence begins with a capital letter, but not every line on the page.
Example: In A Midsummer Night's Dream, Bottom wishes to transform his experience into art: "I will Peter Quince to write a ballet of this dream. It shall be called 'Bottom's Dream,' because it hath no bottom"(IV.i.214-16).
- Please note that your references at the end of your quotations should refer to Act, scene and line numbers (as in the examples above) , not to page numbers. You may either use Roman numerals or Arabic ones as you prefer.
Example: (1.1.12-23) or (I.i.12-23) -- In this reference, the quotation would come from Act I, scene i, lines 12-23. The period should always appear at the end of your sentence, that is, after the parenthetical reference.
- If you are quoting more than three lines, you will need to indent your quotation. The lines should be arranged as they appear in the text if you are quoting verse and arranged as a paragraph if you are quoting prose.
Example: Richard ultimately recognizes--and in eloquent terms--how he has destroyed his own position:
- . . . . How sour sweet music is
- When time is broke, and no proportion kept.
- So is it in the music of men's lives:
- Here have I the daintiness of ear
- To check time broke in a disordered string,
- But for the concord of my state and time,
- Had not the ear to hear my true name broke.
- I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.
- Include your quotations from the plays within your own sentences, and end your paragraphs with your own thoughts rather than a quotation.
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