CORDELIA: Nothing, my lord.
LEAR: Nothing will come of nothing. Speak again.
– William Shakespeare
King Lear, Act 1, Scene 1. Lear asks Cordelia to articulate the depth of her love for him, so that in the division of the kingdom she can "draw a third more opulent than your sisters." But his favorite daughter has nothing to say, her pride and stubbornness won’t allow her play her father’s game like her sisters have done. The repetition of the word "nothing" in this passage and throughout the play reflects themes of disorder, chaos and disintegration in the tragedy of King Lear. English Shakespearean actor Corin Redgrave said in an article in The Guardian newspaper: "Cordelia’s little word ‘nothing’, from which, according to classical philosophy, there could be no consequences, sets in motion a chain of action and reaction that, like the butterfly’s wings in the chaos theory, leads to Armageddon." Lear does indeed warn Cordelia that she will gain no favors from him if she does not make flattering speeches of her love for him. Lear’s use of the language of nihilism, "nothing will come of nothing" is significant. It prepares us for a drama that opens with the absurdity of Lear’s rash and senseless actions and ends with hopelessness, despair and lack of redemption for some of its characters. Ironically Lear is one of these characters, who ends up with nothing in the end, foreshadowed here by his own words.