I am made of that self-mettle as my sister,
And prize me at her worth. In my true heart,
I find she names my very deed of love:
Only she comes too short, that I profess
Myself an enemy to all other joys
Which the most precious square of sense professes,
And find I am alone felicitate
In your dear highness’ love.
Same stuff, same feelings.
I am only happy because of my love for you.
Then poor Cordelia:
And yet not so, since I am sure my love’s
More ponderous than my tongue.
To thee and thine hereditary ever
Remain this ample third of our fair kingdom,
No less in space, validity and pleasure
Than that conferred on Goneril.— Now, our joy,
Although our last and least, to whose young love
The vines of France and milk of Burgundy
Strive to be interessed, what can you say to draw
A third more opulent than your sisters’? Speak.
How does Lear build up the expectation that Cordelia will say something even better than her sisters?
Nothing, my lord.
Nothing will come of nothing: speak again.
Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave
My heart into my mouth: I love your majesty
According to my bond, no more nor less.
I love you because you are my father – a relationship that carries obligations and duties.
How, how, Cordelia? Mend your speech a little,
Lest you may mar your fortunes.
Good my lord,
You have begot me, bred me, loved me:
I return those duties back as are right fit,
Obey you, love you and most honour you.
Why have my sisters husbands if they say
They love you all? Happily when I shall wed,
That lord whose hand must take my plight shall carry
Half my love with him, half my care and duty.
What do you think of Cordelia's response? What reasons can you think of for why she should and why she should not ask this question at this time?