Power and passion in shakespeare's pronouns: interrogating "you" and "thou"

J. Hope

Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review

Abstract

The knottiest problems to do with Shakespeare's language are often those we are least aware of. Who would guess, for example, that Cressida's ''I love you'' to Troilus (142) is a highly unusual collocation, likely to have unsettled its Renaissance audience with its paradoxical mixture of profession of love and formal pronoun? Far more usual is Petruchio's ''I love thee'' (48)-although, as Penelope Freedman points out, the surface conventionality of Petruchio's choice cannot mask darker, more manipulative connotations. Scholars have long known about the options in pronoun form that Early Modern English offered its speakers, but until now, detailed consideration has been largely confined to those with a specialist linguistic interest. Freedman is a theater director, as well as a scholar, and the particular promise of this book is a consideration of pronoun choice in the light of the possibilities of performance. If the book does not entirely fulfill this promise, it is none the less studded with insights and written without recourse to overly technical jargon (either literary or linguistic).
LanguageEnglish
Pages496-498
Number of pages2
JournalShakespeare Quarterly
Volume59
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Fingerprint

William Shakespeare
Passion
Pronoun
Jargon
Early Modern English
Conventionality
Language
Troilus
Mask
Theatre Director
Cressida
Collocation

Cite this

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abstract = "The knottiest problems to do with Shakespeare's language are often those we are least aware of. Who would guess, for example, that Cressida's ''I love you'' to Troilus (142) is a highly unusual collocation, likely to have unsettled its Renaissance audience with its paradoxical mixture of profession of love and formal pronoun? Far more usual is Petruchio's ''I love thee'' (48)-although, as Penelope Freedman points out, the surface conventionality of Petruchio's choice cannot mask darker, more manipulative connotations. Scholars have long known about the options in pronoun form that Early Modern English offered its speakers, but until now, detailed consideration has been largely confined to those with a specialist linguistic interest. Freedman is a theater director, as well as a scholar, and the particular promise of this book is a consideration of pronoun choice in the light of the possibilities of performance. If the book does not entirely fulfill this promise, it is none the less studded with insights and written without recourse to overly technical jargon (either literary or linguistic).",
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Power and passion in shakespeare's pronouns: interrogating "you" and "thou". / Hope, J.

In: Shakespeare Quarterly, Vol. 59, No. 4, 2008, p. 496-498.

Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review

TY - JOUR

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PY - 2008

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AB - The knottiest problems to do with Shakespeare's language are often those we are least aware of. Who would guess, for example, that Cressida's ''I love you'' to Troilus (142) is a highly unusual collocation, likely to have unsettled its Renaissance audience with its paradoxical mixture of profession of love and formal pronoun? Far more usual is Petruchio's ''I love thee'' (48)-although, as Penelope Freedman points out, the surface conventionality of Petruchio's choice cannot mask darker, more manipulative connotations. Scholars have long known about the options in pronoun form that Early Modern English offered its speakers, but until now, detailed consideration has been largely confined to those with a specialist linguistic interest. Freedman is a theater director, as well as a scholar, and the particular promise of this book is a consideration of pronoun choice in the light of the possibilities of performance. If the book does not entirely fulfill this promise, it is none the less studded with insights and written without recourse to overly technical jargon (either literary or linguistic).

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