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See the Front Matter page for more detailed information.

Cast list

Each play will have a list of characters and scenes in the beginning. To encode these features of the text, use the <castList> and <set> tags. The <castList> is very similar to creating a table of contents. The list of characters should be wrapped by the <castList> then the <castGroup> tags. Inside the <castGroup> there will be a <castItem> for each of the characters in the play. If the text bunches certain characters together, be sure to do the same and bunch the characters in one <castItem> tag. Inside the <caseItem> tag you can have three tags:

  1. <role> for the name of the role (i.e. Othello or King Lear)
  2. <roleDesc> for the text's explanation of the role (i.e. Caliban: <roleDesc> = servant to Prospero, native of island)
  3. <actor> for if the text includes who acted a certain part. This tag will RARELY IF EVER be used when encoding a drama. Only use the <actor> tag if the text being encoded comes from a specific performance and includes information about the actors.

Example of Cast List:

   <head rend="center">Persons of the Play</head>
          <role rend="sc">Valentinian III</role>
          <roleDesc>Emperor of the West</roleDesc>
          <role rend="sc">Theodosius II</role>
          <roleDesc>Emperor of the East</roleDesc>
          <role rend="sc">Satyrus</role>
          <roleDesc>An Armenian, Chamberlain to Galla Placidia</roleDesc>
          <role rend="sc">Eugenius</role>
          <roleDesc>A young Chamberlain of the Palace, waiting on Honoria</roleDesc>
          <role rend="sc">Anthemius</role>
          <roleDesc>A young Roman of Consular rank</roleDesc>
          <role rend="sc">Galla Placidia</role>
          <roleDesc>Empress of the West, Valentinian&apos;s Mother</roleDesc>
          <roleDesc>Valentinian&apos;s only Sister</roleDesc>
          <role rend="sc">Pulcheria</role>
          <roleDesc>Empress of the East, Theodosius&apos; eldest Sister</roleDesc>
          <role rend="sc">Arcadia<lb/>Athenais</role>
          <roleDesc>His younger Sisters</roleDesc>
          <role rend="sc">Athenais</role>
          <roleDesc>A Greek Girl under Pulcheria&apos;s protection</roleDesc>
          <role rend="sc">Marsa</role>
          <roleDesc>Anthemius&apos; Wife</roleDesc>
          <role>A Priest, Chamberlains, Courtiers, Women, Slaves,
                Soldiers of the Guard</role>


The <set> tag is used to encode the setting information usually found in the front matter of the drama and typically following the <castList> information. Inside the <set> tag is usually a <p> tag (for paragraph), but if the setting takes a list form the <list type="simple"> and <item> tags can be used inside <set>.

Example of <set> encoding:

    <p><hi rend="sc">Scene</hi>&#8212;In Acts I,II, And IV At <hi rend="i">Ravenna</hi><lb/>
      In Act III At <hi rend="i">Byzantium</hi></p>


       <list type="simple">
           <item>Act 1,2,3,and 4: Ravenna</item>
           <item>Act 3:Byzantium</item>


The body will always take the following structure (with a few exceptions):

  • body
    • div type="act"
      • any of the below tags needed to encode the text
    • div
  • body
There will be 7 main TEI tags used when encoding drama.

  1. <div> for division that marks each poem
  2. <head> for title of drama and acts
  3. <sp> for every speech made in the drama
  4. <speaker> for distinguishing the person speaking in a speech
  5. <l> or <p> for each line or passage of speech in the drama
  6. <stage> for stage directions
  7. <pb> for page breaks
Division (div)

The <div> tag will be used to divide each act in a drama and its title page. The <div> tag will ALWAYS have one or two attributes:

  • type (e.g., type="act")
  • n (e.g., n="1")

The "type" attribute is used to denote that this section of the document is an act or a scene or title page of an act. The value of the "type" attribute will be one of following:

  • act
  • scene
  • epilogue
  • prologue
  • titlePage

The "n" attribute is used to denote the act or scene number. The value of the "n" attribute should always be an arabic numeral. Maintain the printed number (roman, arabic, etc.) in the text for display.

The most common value used will be "act"; the other values may not even occur at all in the text. If none of these values correctly describe the section of text you are encoding, document this in the VWWP Encoding Problems page.


  • Title Page Division:
<div type="titlePage">
  <head rend="center uc">Act I</head>
  • Act division with n attribute:
<div type="act" n="1">
  • Scene division with n attribute
<div type="scene" n="3">


Sometimes drama will contain prose that is not considered a part of the play or stage directions. This information should fall outside the <div type="act"> and be contained in a <trailer> element.

<!--Text here-->
<trailer>This is the end of the act.</trailer>
<div type="act" n="2">

The following tags will be found ONLY inside the <div> tag:


The <head> tag is used to encode the title and acts of the drama. The <head> tag will usually have a rend=" " attribute to denote the layout of the title of the page. Possible values for rend are:

  • center for a title centered on the page
  • left for a title to the left of the page
  • right for a title to the right of the page
  • uc for a title with all uppercase capital letters
  • sc for a title with all small capital letters

For more general information about additional values see the general guidelines.

One rend attribute can contain multiple formatting values as long as those values are separated by a space.

<div type="act">
   <head rend="center uc">ATTILA, MY ATTILA!</head>
   <head rend="center uc">Act I</head>


Every speech within a drama will begin with the <sp> tag. The <sp> tag is used merely to distinguish a speech from other elements in the drama.


  • Two speeches in a drama
   <speaker rend="i">Eugenius</speaker>
   <l>That&apos;s my affair.</l>
   <speaker rend="i">Satyrus</speaker>
   <l>Indeed ! But you mistake: nothing that touches</l>
   <l>My princess. . . .</l>

Within every <sp> tag will contain a <speaker> tag and a <l> tag or <p> tag.


The <speaker> tag is used to denote the speaker of the passage. Oftentimes the text used for the speaker's name will have a different format from its surrounding text. Use the rend attribute to distinguish this change in format. Possible values for the rend attribute are:

  • i when the speaker's name is italicized
  • b when the speaker's name is in bold font
  • uc when the speaker's name is in all capital letters of a larger size than the surrounding text
  • sc when the speaker's name is in all capital letters of the same size as the surrounding text

For more information about how to encode format see general guidelines

The rend attribute may include more than one value. If a speaker's name is in bold and uppercase capitals, the value of the attribute should be <speaker rend="b uc">.


  • Speaker's Name Italicized
       <speaker rend="i">Eugenius</speaker>
       <l>Why naturally there is nothing you</l>
       <l>Can tell me, holding office similar</l>
       <l>To mine, except some tattle of the court.</l>
Line or Paragraph

After the <speaker> tag, use the <l> tag (for line of verse) or the <p> tag (for a prose passage).


  • Drama in verse
   <speaker rend="i">Honoria</speaker>
   <l>But no one greeted me. I sat alone</l>
   <l>So long ; and then I heard the slaves at work</l>
   <l>Unrolling the big tapestries&#8212;the bustle</l>
   <l>Of steps attracted me, and here I am !</l>
   <l>Now set me on that throne and talk to me.</l>
   <l>Eugenius, help!</l>
  • Drama in prose
  <p>Oh, I knew that.  No.  She said she knew she was all the charming things
  I&apos;d been saying, but there was only one way to prove it&mdash;and
  that was to marry some one young enough to be her son. She&apos;d noticed
  that was what the <hi rend="i">most</hi> attractive women did&mdash;and she
  named names.</p>

If the drama is in verse, there may be times when a line is left incomplete or complete by the speech of another character. If the line is left incomplete, use the part attribute with value, "Y". If the line is completed by another character use the value of "I" for the initial line, "M" for the medial line (if needed), and "F" for the final line.


  • Incomplete line
  <speaker rend="i">Placidia</speaker>
  <l part="Y">I would prolong your youth and . . .</l>
  • Line completed by another speaker
   <speaker rend="i">Placidia</speaker>
   <l>She must think it is,</l>
   <l>And will, if you are wise.</l>
   <stage type="mixed">(<hi rend="i">To Satyrus, who approaches at a sign from his mistress</hi>)</stage>
   <l>O Satyrus,</l>
   <l>Is she not looking pretty ? All my life</l>
   <l>I have been planning how to give her pleasure;</l>
   <l>But she is like her father. When I stooped</l>
   <pb n="14"/>
   <l>To give Constantius the imperial title</l>
   <l part="I">He held it sixteen months, and all that time . . .</l>
   <speaker rend="i">Satyrus</speaker>
   <l part="F">Yes, madam, he kept falling off to sleep,</l>


The <stage> tag will be used to encode any stage directions and information. The <stage> tag will have one attribute, type=" ". There are nine possible values for the type attribute.

  1. location for describing a place in the play, whether London or at a window
  2. business for describing a character's actions on stage
  3. delivery for describing how a character delivers a line
  4. modifier for describing something about a character (for instance, Malvolio in disguise would have a modifier value)
  5. novelistic for describing something a playwright include to influence future stage direction
  6. entrance for describing a character entrance
  7. exit for describing a character exit
  8. mixed for describing a stage direction that includes two or more of the following stage directions


  • Location of play
<stage type="location">At <hi rend="i">Byzantium</hi></stage>
  • Mixed direction that describes the location of a play, character entrances, and character actions (business)
<stage type="mixed">
     <p><hi rend="sc">Scene</hi>&#8212;A room of state in the palace at Ravenna, opening through a colonnade on
     to a terrace with a distant view of the harbour.</p>
     <p><hi rend="sc">Eugenius</hi> is walking up and down the terrace: he stops under the boughs of a pomegranate
     and picks up a bracelet from the ground. In the room itself slaves, some fair Goths, some Africans, are spreading carpets,
     putting up hangings, and wreathing the columns.</p>
     <p><hi rend="sc">Satyrus</hi> enters with more slaves, who are bringing in tripods; he points out where they are to place
     them, then   fixes his eyes on Eugenius.</p>
  • Delivery describing both who the character is talking to and how the character is talking
   <speaker rend="i">Satyrus</speaker>
   <l><stage type="delivery">(<hi rend="i">To a Gothic lad</hi>)</stage> Slave, there must be fresh garlands ; wreathe those pillars.</l>
   <l><stage type="delivery">(<hi rend="i">In the same voice to Eugenius</hi>)</stage> Give me that bracelet!</l>

The <stage> tag can occur anywhere within the <div> tag, both outside or inside the <sp> tag and outside or inside the <l> tag.


  • <stage> tag inside and outside the <l> tag
    <speaker rend="i">Placidia</speaker>
    <l><stage type="delivery">(<hi rend="i">To Eugenius</hi>)</stage>Eugenius, you have had instructions ?</l>
    <l>Thoug h you are young, you will retain your office ;</l>
    <l>You are correct in conduct, and your manners</l>
    <l>Formal and full of deference. There will be</l>
    <l>But little need of change in your behaviour</l>
    <l>Towards the Augusta. Simply emphasise</l>
    <l>Her distance from all ordinary life ;</l>
    <pb n="16"/>
    <l>Treat her with adoration, we may hope</l>
    <l>She will become a goddess. Summon her.</l>
    <stage type="exit">(<hi rend="i">Exit Eugenius</hi>)</stage>
    <l>Good Satyrus, why do you look so grim ?</l>

The <stage> element can appear inside any element of <sp> except the <speaker> element. If the stage direction occurs on the same line as the speaker's name in the text, encode the text as follows:

   <stage type="mixed">Pepe rushes into the room, yelling.</stage>
   <l>Watch out!<l>

Page Break

For more general information about encoding page breaks see general guidelines.

The only tag used for encoding drama that will appear outside the <div> tag is the page break (<pb>) tag. This tag can appear anywhere in the document, and should follow exactly the format of the book. If a page break comes in the middle of a speech, place a <pb> tag between the last line of the previous page and first line of the next page. If a page break happens at the end of a speech, close the <sp> tag before you enter the <pb>. If the page break occurs at the end of a act, close the <div> before you enter the <pb>. The <pb> has two attribute, n=" " and xml:id. These attributes refer to the page number that will follow the page break (i.e. use <pb n="54"> BEFORE the contents of page 54) and the unique id for the page. See the page break section for more information about how to number the pages and the value for the xml:id.


  • Page Break with number in middle of character speech
        <speaker rend="i">Honoria</speaker>
        <l>That is a wish&#8212;your roses</l>
        <l>Are sweet now, as you offer them, how sweet!</l>
        <l>Why, they are all I have. I never held them</l>
        <l>Loose in my hands like this : I touched them only</l>
        <pb n="25" xml:id="VAB1983-022"/>
        <l>When I was drinking, or in wreaths or crowns</l>
        <l>As the Augusta should. But I can pluck them,</l>
        <l>Can blow the stiff buds open if I choose,</l>
        <l>And crush them in my fingers.</l>

Back Matter

See the Back Matter page for more detailed information.


If a part of the dramatic text that you are trying to encode does not fit one of the above described features, document the problem in the VWWP Encoding Problems page.

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