Cordelia Speaks

May 29, 2008
By Alison Smith, South Plainfield, NJ

Fie, fie, I say, upon my wretched father and my wretched sisters. He speaks true, the one that doth speak of my unnatural love.

I remember from my youth when I would be doted upon by my father and his knights. "What the princess Cordelia desires so she shall receive," they would say. And thus, I, an unknowing knave, would be favored more than my sisters.

After I received the china dolls from the East, I would plague my sisters with my annoying inhabitance. They would separate themselves from me and whisper harsh words even though they were in my presence.

"Her forked tongue," they said, "wins her our father's trice-split heart. If we coat our lips with honey, the court will be charmed by us."


Who did they think they were? Who could be more manipulative than I? Since birth, I have been fooling my father. Goneril did not poor mud into my father's slippers. Regan did not leave ink in his water basin. I did, and it only made the courts look upon me more favorably. No one would suspect the innocent babe of the family, and no one did. My father would recognize the false guise they would put on so he would show them more affection, and he believed them false.

I spent years buttering him with sweet words and deeds to prepare for the day he would divide his kingdom. Alas, I thought he would again see through my sisters' facade, and would appreciate my unbridled, undefined dedication. He is as a child again, and the complexity of his mind failed.

I must admit I did a disservice to my father. No, not by framing my sisters. Nor by waiting for old age to overcome him. This was accomplished with his loyal advisor, Kent. I was infatuated by his god-like countenance. He was in the prime of his life as I grew up, and I worshipped him.

Kent secretly went around bedding women, and I, saddened, framed him. When I became old enough, I professed to Kent my affections. While he could not return them (being married), he promised he would stand beside me should I ever need help.

Well, soon after, my father fell into the madness that comes with old age and disowned me. Vengeful, but still cunning, I married the King of France to spite both my father and Kent. I knew the reality of my sisters, and I did not need a plan to win back my father. My sisters would all but chase him into my waiting, loving arms.

I was correct again. Surprise.

Daddy dearest, did you think Goneril and Regan wanted to get rid of your knights so you would be powerless? No, old king, it was merely due to their residing favor for me. You think Goneril and Regan are out to kill you? No, demented sir, you were a pawn. They have been jealous of me from the start, and have been out to get me ever since.

I mean, seriously.

I am sort of insulted you believed them to have even that amount of intelligence.

Whatever, I am off to get rid of my baggage. I think a false name would suit my purposes. It seems to work around here, at any rate. I like the sound of Gertrude. I hear that there is a single king in Denmark...?

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