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Quick Grammar Question Dealing with Roles in Plays


Notoman 20 / 419  
Dec 7, 2009   #1
If you are writing about a role that someone has played in a theatre performance, do you need to do anything special with the character's name??

John Doe portrayed Iago in the 1996 production of Othello.

John Doe portrayed "Iago" in the 1996 production of Othello.
Moebalkis - / 1  
Dec 7, 2009   #2
If you are writing about a role that someone has played in a theatre performance, do you need to do anything special with the character's name??

John Doe portrayed Iago in the 1996 production of Othello.

John Doe portrayed "Iago" in the 1996 production of Othello.

Re: The script changes, but a role always stays the same, the name of the character remains the characters name remain so i would suggest the first example you wrote is the correct one.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Dec 9, 2009   #3
For clarity, the quote marks help... but they are ugly. I guess if I were writing it, I would write

...Portrayed the character Iago in...

I was just looking here for guidance: archive.sensesofcinema.com/contents/07/45/carl-dreyer.html

Really, it is up to you! If your intro para establishes what is going on, you can leave the responsibility with the reader to figure it out. If you are worried about getting a good grade, ask the prof's opinion (they love that), but if this is your own article or chapter of something you are working on, you have prerogative.
OP Notoman 20 / 419  
Dec 9, 2009   #4
Thanks Kevin! I tired Googling and I looked in a couple of different style guides, but I didn't see anything. It isn't for a class, so I will leave it without the quotation marks. I was just worried that there was some rule that I was unaware of. When writing about characters in books, I never use the quotation marks so I am not sure why this one tripped me up the way it did.

BTW, I looked at the Questia website that you recommended on another thread. It does look good. Then ... I went to my library's website to see if they had a subscription. They don't have Questia, but they do have *all* kinds of resources including a literary database with hundreds and hundreds of essays on each Shakespeare play. Thanks for that direction!
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Dec 11, 2009   #5
Yeah, I think people usually either are writing about the play, so they do not need to spoon feed the reader the fact that it is a characters name... or they do ned to tell the reader, so they can say, "The evil character known as Iago," or something.

And yeah. questia is great. It even generates a works cited list for youin MLA, APA, Chicago, Harvard, etc.

But your school's database is great, too, of course! For sure..


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