King Lear: Cordelia

“What shall Cordelia speak? Love, and be silent” Cordelia’s asides show the contrast between her and her sisters, she speaks plainly and honestly.
“I am sure my love’s more ponderous than my tongue” Shows that Regan and Gonerill are lying.
“Nothing, my lord” Theme of nothing, shows that she doesn’t want anything or anymore than she has.
“I love your majesty according to my bond, no more nor less” Cordelia is honest and blunt, she hopes that this will show through against her sister’s lies and flattery.
“Why have my sisters husbands, if they say they love you all?” Talk of dividing the kingdom and dividing their love, quantifying love.
“Since fortunes are his love, I shall not be his wife” Cordelia respects those who see more than fortunes and wealth, she has a deeper character than power.
“Love well our father: to your professed bosoms I commit him” Professed shows that they are insincere, exposition at the start of the play shown that Regan and Gonerill will be bad daughters.
“It seemed she was a queen over her passion, who most rebel-like sought to be king o’er her” (Quarto version) Feminism – queen vs. king, male vs. female. She stands up for herself in a patriarchal society.
“Sunshine and rain at once”, “Pearls from diamonds dropped”, “Holy water from her heavenly eyes” (Quarto version) Described with religious imagery and purity and preciousness. Shows her virtuous character is her wealth.
“A century send forth… bring him to our eye” Replace the 100 knights that he was denied, refund the king and reinstall him to his former power.
“O you kind gods… wind up of this child-changed father!” Advocation to the gods, one of her few, she makes it in the name of her father. Shows her holiness and goodness.
“Spring with my tears; be aidant remediate” Natural imagery, of healing and love.
“My mourning and importuned tears hath pitied” Shows her emotion and contrasts Lear’s fear of crying, Cordelia embraces emotion and love. Suggests anti-feminist? Not strong, relies on being given power by men.
“O dear father, it is thy business I go about” Religious imagery, Jesus also goes about the business of his father. AO4 contemporary religious audiences would have recognised this.
“No blown ambition doth our arms incite, but love, dear love and our aged father’s right” Cordelia is driven by love rather than power, repetition of love instills this value. Fighting for what is right, the restoration of justice.
“Thy medicine on my lips and let this kiss repair those violent harms that my two sisters have in thy reverence made” Imagery of healing and love, contrasts the kiss between Regan and Edmond the scene before, shows how she uses love not lust.
“Royal lord… your majesty… your highness” Speaks highly of Lear, shows that she is redeeming the daughters and feminine. Speaks to him like a king.
“No cause, no cause” Forgives him, again religious imagery and Jesus, as Christianity about forgiveness.
“We are not the first, who with best meaning have incurred the worst. For thee, oppressed King, I am cast down” Cordelia’s nobility and heroism, however is she also bitter? Sacrificed herself for him.
“Is this the promised end?” (Kent of Cordelia’s death) Cordelia’s untimely and shocking death like the apocalypse, the death of an angel.

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