“Nothing will come of nothing, speak again.”
Were the words spoken of King Lear to his youngest daughter, Cordelia in Act 1.
King Lear was right, nothing can come from nothing if you ignore the natural order of divine justice. And Cordelia’s response, “Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave my heart into my mouth” demonstrates by the end of the play that her lack of words and her intolerance for the games that her family plays mean “nothing”. Its the actions that one takes that proves the true outcome of real love and loyalty for a child and a parent and a parent to a child.
Lear violates the natural law when he pins his daughters against one another when he tests his daughters love for him. His father-child relationship is destroyed by his lack of parental judgement as his daughters compete for his love and attention. Favoritism that a parent plays among his children is unnatural and I do think Lear, as well as Gloucester, has brought these horrific circumstances and deaths, at the end, upon themselves. Pinning sister against sister or brother against brother can only have one outcome…revenge! The natural law suggests that a parent should love ALL his or her children equally and unconditionally, if this law is violated there will be heavy consequences at the end as we see happens in King Lear.
In my first post I had questioned whether or not Lear transforms himself during the nature of the storm. While I do think he understands the reality of his situation and the betrayal by his daughters, I don’t think he truly transforms until he meets Cordelia again and she forgives him for his own betrayal of his love for her. It is in these sweet and tender moments that we get a glimpse of the unconditional love that they both have for one another. In the end King Lear gets a chance to speak outwardly about his love for his daughter, he gets a chance to “speak again” and realizes how wrong he was for ever doubting Cordelia’s love.
The love of a child for his or her parents or the love of a parent for his or her child should never be questioned or challenged as we see done in King Lear. This unnatural betrayal sets the stage for good verses evil and can only end tragically.