Writing Play Names In Essays

Italicized:

Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Ed. Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine. New York: Washington Square-Pocket, 1992.

I just searched for examples. I found this site: http://www.mystfx.ca/resources/writingcentre/MLA_Citing%20Sources.pdf, and I used that info. I think that most scripts of plays are republished in books or collections (which are books). You can always add more info after the date, in parentheses, if you think it's useful. I would probably add "play" at the end, so I could jump to it using a find feature in a text editor. The safer bet would be to add the info at the end, but my preference would be to add it after the title. I doubt I would receive any complaints, either way.

Also, most of the names of works in the works cited section are italicized, articles and sections being the big exception. I also remember finding some works-cited example pages at .edu websites doing a keyword search for +hamlet site: .edu or something similar. I found a site that told how to cite a "live play".

This is a quote from that site:

Hamlet. By William Shakespeare. Dir. Kenneth Branagh. Perf. Kenneth Branagh, Derek Jacoby, and Julia Christie. The Globe Theatre, London. 27 Dec. 1991. Performance.

Simply put: no.

APA's Publication Manual (2010) indicates that, in the body of your paper, you should use italics for the titles of:

  • books
  • periodicals (journals, magazines, newspapers)
  • films
  • videos
  • TV shows
  • Microfilm publications

Beyond APA's specific examples, know that certain types of titles are almost always written in italics. 

Use italics in a word-processed document for the types of titles you'd underline if you were writing by hand.  A general rule of thumb is that within the text of a paper, italicize the title of complete works but put quotation marks around titles of parts within a complete work. 

The table below isn't comprehensive, but it's a good starting point

Titles in ItalicsTitles Placed in "Quotation Marks"
Title of a periodical (magazine, journal, newspaper)              Title of article in a periodical
Title of a book   Title of a chapter in a book
Title of a movie or playName of an act or scene in a movie or a play
Title of a television or radio series   Title of an episode within a tv or radio series
Title of a musical album or CDTitle of a song
Title of a long poemTitle of a short poem
Names of operas or long musical composition
Names of paintings and sculptures

Title of a short story

On an APA-style reference page, the rules for titles are a little different.  In short, a title you would italicize within the body of a paper will also be italicized on a reference page.  However, a title you'd place in quotation marks within the body of the paper (such as the title of an article within a journal) will be written in normal lettering and will not be in quotation marks.

Here are some examples:

Smith (2001) research is fully described in the Journal of Higher Education.

Smith's (2001) article "College Admissions See Increase" was published in the Journal of Higher Education after his pivotal study on the admissions process.

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