Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 936. Tuesday, 14 December 1993.
Date: Monday, 13 Dec 93 14:23 CST
Subject: "you" vs. "thou" in Shakespeare's work
Could someone give me a good reference for the use of "you" vs. "thou" in
Shakespeare? So far, it seems that the following usages hold for most
situations in Shakespeare's works:
(1) from inferior to superior
(2) to someone not well known
(1) from superior to inferior
(2) between intimate acquaintences
(3) to express strong emotions (regardless of social
These rules (which I have pieced together from various sources) seem to work,
but there are exceptions, and I am not sure if something is being lost in the
Does anyone know of a good treatment of this issue for Shakespeare's works and
Any other comments about the significance of "you/thou" ?
University of Iowa