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Shakespeare

Wrongful Death
Why bastard, wherefore base?
KING LEAR

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9
Levy

v.

Louisiana
Wrongful Death

Justice Douglas Opinion
May 20, 1968
Seal Of The Supreme Court
Excerpt:

Appellant sued on behalf of five illegitimate children to recover, under a Louisiana Statute for two kinds of damages as a result of the wrongful death of their mother: (1) the damages to them for the loss of their mother; and (2) those based on the survival of a cause of action which the mother had at the time of her death for pain and suffering. appellees are the doctor who treated her and the insurance company.

... We can say with Shakespeare: "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? Why brand they us with base? with baseness? Bastardy? Base, Base?" KING LEAR, Act I, Scene 2.

Text Excerpt:

THE TRAGEDY OF KING LEAR, Act I, Scene 2, William Shakespeare

Lag of a brother? 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? Why brand they us
With base? with baseness? bastardy? base, base?
Who, in the lusty stealth of nature, take
More composition and fierce quality
Than doth, within a dull, stale, tired bed,
Go to the creating a whole tribe of fops
Got 'tween asleep and wake?--Well then,
Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land:
Our father's love is to the bastard Edmund
As to the legitimate: fine word--legitimate!



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