King Lear
Act I, Scene i, Lines 95~104



Cordelia: Good my lord,
              You have begot me, bred me, lov'd me: I
              Return those duties back as are right fit,
              Obey you, love you, and most honor 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.
              Sure I shall never marry like my sisters,
              [To love my father all].

I had not encountered King Lear either during high school or even in college.  It is understandable, however, since every single one of Shakespeare's works play a significant role in the world of English literature.  As a teacher, the task of selecting one or two works for analysis and discussion is extremely difficult.  Most would choose to begin with the more popular ones because students might have already been familiar with the plot, like 'Romeo and Juliet', 'Julius Caesar', 'Macbeth', or 'Hamlet'.

My reading of King Lear began only recently, though the character of Cordelia have already made an impressive impression on me.  King Lear has decided to divide his assets among his daughters according to their declaration of his three daughters' love towards him.  Without surprise, the two elder ones who covet their father's property, begin flattering him by bragging how much they love him.  Cordelia, however, chooses a more noble action - to tell the truth.  These few lines epitomize what father-daughter relationships should really be like, however, in King Lear, it is the cause of the tragedy of both King Lear and Cordelia.

Although she is not the protagonist, she is definitely one of the most interesting characters in this play.

高中至大學的過程中,從來沒有接觸過李爾王。但不可否認,莎翁的每一個作品都非常具有代表性。身為一位老師,要從眾多大作中選出一兩個來深入探討,一定是選劇情大家已經熟悉的『羅密歐與朱麗葉』、『凱薩大帝』、或是悲劇中的經典之作『馬克白』、『哈母雷特』。

最近才開始翻閱李爾王。其中對李爾王小女Cordelia的正直與勇氣真是佩服不已。李爾王為了想要分配財產,叫三位女兒當著眾人面前告知她們對父親的愛。由她們的告白來決定誰能得到財產,誰能得到多少財產。此時,貪圖遺產的大女兒與二女兒當然是卯出全力說出自己對父親的愛有多少!李爾王聽了當然是高興的不得了。不料,到了他平時戴愛的小女,竟然不願為了爭霸財產而誇大自己對父親的愛。簡單的兩三句,其實透露出這世間原本的定律,但卻造成父親與他自己的悲劇。

雖然稱不上是主角,但此劇中最受矚目的女角色,一定就非Cordelia莫屬了!


Epilogue:The version consulted for these audio readings: The Riverside Shakespeare.  2nd ed. Houghton Mifflin.1997.


收場白:錄音檔參考版本為:The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Houghton Mifflin. 1997.
另外一提:最近聽的BBC版本...Cordelia說出這段話的口氣實在非常機車。也難怪他老爸聽了會不高興...
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