Macbeth Persuasive Essay: Adding Sources and In-text Citations

Contributor: Melissa Kowalski. Lesson ID: 12869

It's been said that nothing is original; no one comes up with anything new. Be that as it may, it is only fair to give credit to someone whose words you use in your essay. Otherwise, yes, it's theft!



English / Language Arts
learning style
personality style
Grade Level
High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!


"Boy, I wish I had said that!" Have you had that feeling when you heard something really clever or profound? Even if you wish you had said it, you cannot take credit for it. That's plagiarism, also known as stealing! Learn how to properly cite (give credit to) the sources you use in your writing!

In the previous lesson in this Macbeth Persuasive Essay series, found under Related Lessons in the right-hand sidebar, you wrote the first half of the persuasive essay.

In this lesson, you will complete the rough draft by adding the outside sources. These sources will add expertise to the essay and show that the paper is logical and the ideas are supported by other writers and researchers. Before you start placing additional sources into the essay, there are some guidelines for using outside sources that you need to follow. Remember that you are using MLA citation format for your in-text and Works Cited page citations. When using MLA citations, there are a few rules to remember:

  • When using a direct quotation, you should always introduce or conclude the sentence containing the quotation with your own words. This helps integrate the quotation into the paragraph instead of it looking cut-and-pasted into the paragraph. For example:

According to Matt Smith, "literature is one of the cultural connections that forges bonds across age, ethnicity, gender, religion, and class" (328).

"Literature is one of the cultural connections that forges bonds across age, ethnicity, gender, religion, and class," according to Matt Smith (328).

  • A direct quotation should never start or end a body paragraph. This is because the writer must set up the topic of the paragraph first in the topic sentence, and a quotation needs explanation after it is used of how it relates to the point the writer is making in the paragraph.
  • A quotation or summary from a source does not take the place of the writer's words. They are only used to support and illustrate the writer's claims that he or she has made in his or her own words.
  • To cite a direct quotation in the text of a paper when it is fewer than four typed or handwritten lines, place the parentheses at the end of the sentence and include the author's last name and page number of the quotation. If there is no author's name, use the book or article title, and if there is no page number, omit it. For example:

As Macbeth begins to realize he is losing power, "his frantic actions only undermine his power more quickly and alienate any thanes who would support him" (Smith 45).

"When Macbeth's wife loses her sense of reality, she also loses the power she holds over her husband," which causes him to make his own decisions (Jones 36).

Macduff becomes a potential rival of "Macbeth due to the vacuum of leadership created in Malcolm's absence" ("Themes in Macbeth").

  • Citations for summary from a source are formatted the same way. To review MLA in-text citations in more detail, you can also refer to the Elephango lessons found under Additional Resources in the right-hand sidebar.

When you feel comfortable with MLA in-text citation formatting, check your knowledge with the short quiz in the interactive below:

If you missed any of the questions, review the information on citations in this lesson or the other lessons on MLA in-text citations, then move on to the Got It? section to review integration of outside sources into a paragraph.

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