Why "bastard?" Wherefore "base?"
When my dimensions are as well compact,
My mind as generous, and my shape as true,
As honest madam’s issue?
– William Shakespeare
King Lear, Act 1, Scene 2. Edmund asks why society calls him bastard and why is he therefore worthless? He is as sound in mind and body as any legitimate child, he insists. Edmund believes that he is treated unfairly, made feel inferior and wrongly deprived of his inheritance because of his bastard status. His pride is also injured.