Internet Shakespeare Editions

4.4.10 Props

In the modern text, editors are encouraged to include tagging that highlights props in a play, as an aid to understanding and analyzing staging. The tagging can take two forms: where an item is mentioned in the text, and where one is implied.

<TLN n="613"/>Is this a <PROP>dagger</PROP> which I see before me,

This example, however, is a reminder of alternative possibilities of staging, where the dagger may well be visible to Macbeth only. For this reason, you may include a description of the prop that, in this case, indicates its uncertain nature:

<TLN n="613"/>Is this a <PROP desc="a dagger, possibly a hallucination">dagger</PROP> 
which I see before me,

Sometimes a prop is indicated by inference rather than being mentioned directly. The common stage direction "Draws" is a good example. This would be tagged thus:

<SD t="action">Draws.</SD><PROP item="sword"/>

Optionally, of course, there could also be a description:

<SD t="action">Draws.</SD><PROP item="sword" desc="probably a rapier"/>

Note that where there is no word enclosed by two tags, the single tag ends with the character "/" making it self-closing.

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