Since the employment of different forms of address is standard in virtually all the cases, positive and negative politeness depend on the social position of the character.
In the tragedy and drama, however, forms of address are more various and their agreement or disagreement with the social status of the character is pronounced as the dramatic conflict requires.
This taxonomic inventory of the forms of address has been derived from a hand-made catalogue of all the syntactically marked off items of address in contexts from the six plays analysed.
Like with the other forms of address, Shakespeare exploits the possibility of using qualifying words with the form of address my lord to increase its expressiveness.
The forms of address gentlemen and mistress are used by Shakespeare essentially in accord with the norm: the first is applied to men of gentle birth attached to the household of the sovereign or other person of high rank, while the second is used with respect to a sweetheart or lady-love.
The limited volume of the present paper does not permit to complete the review and illustration of all the forms of address given in the inventory above.
The analysis of the use of the forms of address which had an established norm in Shakespeare's time allows a number of generalisations.
The various forms of address variously employed expose Shakespeare's exploitation of seven kinds of resources to increase their expressiveness: 1) the form of address complying with the established norm; 2) the form of address violating the established standard of usage; 3) qualifying words to a form of address as a source of emotive meaning and irony when the qualifying words form an acute contrast with the circumstances; 4) the initial, obliging use of address as a means of courtesy and that of the fixing of attention; 5) the permanent use of address, emphasising symmetrical and asymmetrical relations, 6) the reiterated address for emphasis, and 7) the missing address, implying familiarity.
It is only in the comedy that a concentration of forms of address conveying negative politeness is limited only to the role of realistic social significance.