1. Unhappy that I am, I cannot heaveMy heart into my mouth. I love your majestyAccording to my bond; no more nor less.Explanation for Quotation 1 >>Cordelia speaks these words when she address her father, King Lear, who has demanded that his daughters tell him how much they love him before he divides his kingdom among them (1.1.90–92). In contrast to the empty flattery of Goneril and Regan, Cordelia offers her father a truthful evaluation of her love for him: she loves him “according to my bond”; that is, she understands and accepts without question her duty to love him as a father and king. Although Cordelia loves Lear better than her sisters do, she is unable to “heave” her heart into her mouth, as her integrity prevents her from making a false declaration in order to gain his wealth. Lear’s rage at what he perceives to be her lack of affection sets the tragedy in motion. Cordelia’s refusal to flatter Lear, then, establishes her virtue and the authenticity of her love, while bringing about Lear’s dreadful error of judgment.
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Thanks so much, Reham! This is very useful. Cordelia's words are so realistic and straightforward, but it's Lear's problem to realise the significance of this realistic accounts that deviates away from any flattery or hypocrisy. The other sisters (Regan and Goneril) said all that they expected their old father wanted to hear in his childish mood. In other words, they managed to read their father's mind. It seems that Cordelia was unhappy with what was going on and hence, I felt that she indirectly wanted to uncover the hypocrisy and flasehood of her sisters...That's why she told them (after she was banshed dowriless) to take care of their father...as if she wanted to say to them, "I'll be watching to what extend your exaggerated expression of love will match your reality"...The wicked nature of the two sisters was immediately (and intentionally) revealed in the court at the end of the division scene when they were planning how they would deal with the childish nature of their father in the future...Best wishesMahmoud