Accepted Paper:

Social Status and Intimacy in the Characters of Shakespeare  

Author:

Vinay Jain (Makhanlal Chaturvedi, Govt. Girls College, Khandwa (MP) India)

Paper short abstract:

'Thee' is used in Shakespeare by a master to a servant. It is also used in confidential and good-humoured utterances. 'You' was received by a master. Hindi tu and aap express roughly the same social meanings as English thou/thee and you used to express respectively.

Paper long abstract:

Social status and intimacy is reflected in the choice of pronouns used by the characters of Shakespeare in his drama. 'Thee' is generally used in Shakespeare by a master to a servant. Being the appropriate address to a servant, it is used in confidential and good-humoured utterances. 'You' was received by a master. Hindi tu and aap express roughly the same social meanings as English thou/thee and you used to express respectively.

In the Standard English prose of the eighteenth century, 'thou' and 'thee' were entirely replaced by 'you', so that the form of polite address became general in the common intercourse. In Two Gentlemen of Verona, Valentine and Proteus in the first twenty lines of earnest dialogue use nothing but thou. But as soon as they begin to jest, "thou art" is found too seriously ponderous and we have, "you are over boots in love" (I.i.25) while the lighter thee is not discarded in "it boots thee not" (I.i.28). So in the word-fencing you and your are preferred, but an affectionate farewell brings them back again to 'thou'.

In the Standard English prose of the eighteenth century, 'thou' and 'thee' were entirely replaced by 'you', so that the form of polite address became general in the common intercourse. During Elizabethan age, pronoun 'you' and 'ye' were considered as honorific pronoun used to address to a single person in reverence and polite distance and pronoun 'thou' and 'thee' were nonhonorific- used by a superior to inferior.

Panel RM-LL01
Language movement in India