Pronouns: you vs. thou

Shakespeare’s plays include a lot of language which is now considered archaic. You have probably noticed how Macbeth includes strange-looking pronouns like “thou”, “thee”, “thine”, and “thy”. These pronouns are analytically interesting since characters’ use of pronouns can hold vital information about the relationship between the characters or about their social status

The personal pronoun “you” is used by inferiors to superiors, such as children to parents or servants to masters, to show respect. Upper-class people typically use this pronoun with one another, even when they are closely related. 

In contrast, “thou” is used between working-class people and is also the way superiors address them. Thus, “thou” either reflects intimacy or difference in social status between the characters, bu...

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