In the original Star Wars trilogy we can see from episode IV to VI the respect shown by Darth Vader to his Emperor, Darth Sidious even when the latter was not present.

However, I find a specific scene quite curious. In Episode V, we see for the first time the face of the Emperor through a holographic projection. Vader bowed, his head down, he raised himself while keeping one of his his knee on the ground and said :

What is thy bidding, my master ?

Looking up the use of the archaic English, we can see that "thy" comes from the singular informal of the 2nd person

Archaic English

"Thy" was - and is sometimes - used to address someone we see as an equal or that we hold affection for. But that word can also be used toward someone we disrespect, disregarding his rank or position.

I don't think Vader held much love for Sidious even if he was the last person Vader considered somewhat as a close ally. Seeing the decorum Vader showed to his Emperor in episode V and VI, I don't think the both of them viewed themselves as equal, Sidious was clearly above him.

So it raises a single question :

Why would Darth Vader use that form of speech toward the only man he was supposed to respect ?

closed as off-topic by NKCampbell, Shreedhar, TheLethalCarrot, Helbent IV, K-H-W Mar 27 '18 at 14:57

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

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  • 11
    You're probably over-thinking this. The word just fit the prose and mood for this part of the script. I'm not sure you can read too much into the use of an archaic and respectful proposition. – Snow Mar 27 '18 at 9:30
  • 5
    You're using archaic linguistic rules of our world, not a galaxy far, far away. – phantom42 Mar 27 '18 at 12:14
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    VTCers - The question isn't about language per se, but goes to how Vader actually felt about the Emperor. I can't see why it wouldn't be on topic. – RDFozz Mar 27 '18 at 14:35
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    because it is most definitely about language, English language / Old English at that, which, is not an in-universe concept. phantom42 said it best: "you're using archaic linguistic rules of our world, not a galaxy far, far away" - which, might be ok if this were Star Trek because that at least has in-universe justification for the English language as a literal construct @RDFozz Also, is there anything in Sith lore demanding master respect? One would think simple obedience is all that is required. In fact an 'only two' system requires some level of disrespect, to you know, kill the master – NKCampbell Mar 27 '18 at 16:13
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Null Mar 27 '18 at 20:04

I think the antiquated expression is "thy bidding" (it is not like bidding is an everyday word either), this has some form as a deferential phrase.

Richard III (By Shakespeare)

Apem. No, I will do nothing at thy bidding;

Manfred (By Byron)

Mortal! to thy bidding bow’d From my mansion in the cloud,

  • Actually neither of these are strong indicators that it is deferential. "I will do nothing at thy bidding" is absolutely not deferential, and the second is doubtful because the object is addressed as "Mortal", which implies the speaker is immortal, which implies the speaker is superior to the object and "bow'd" possibly without their consent. – DJClayworth Mar 27 '18 at 16:09
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    @DJClayworth If using the word "mortal" implies the speaker is immortal, we'd have a lot of really old nerds running around – DCOPTimDowd Mar 27 '18 at 17:23

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