The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0440 Thursday, 11 March 1999.
Date: Thursday, 11 Mar 1999 16:50:41 +0800
Subject: You and Thou
While translating some passages from Shakespeare's plays, I find the
change of pronoun from "we" to "I" or "you" to "thou," and vice versa,
significant. For example, Claudius in his soliloquy that ends 4.3
switches from first person singular to plural and back in correspondence
to his awareness of his position as King or private self. And in
"R&J", 2.4.45-91, Mercutio uses "you" and "thou" with Romeo to indicate
different degrees of fellowship (e.g. "You gave us the counterfeit
fairly last night," "Now art thou sociable, now art thou Romeo"). I'd
be grateful if anyone can direct me to any works done in the area of
Shakespeare's use of pronouns.