Forget and Forgive

by suu4leaf

Pray you now, forget and forgive.
—- King Lear, Act 4 scene 7




This is the central theme of Shakespeare’s King Lear. And because this is such a concise and powerful line, it had become one of my best remembered Shakespeare quotes. King Lear for a F.6 student was a bit too tough indeed (and most of the play I did not understand until I encountered the text again in my Year 3 Comparative Literature course in Renaissance Culture), but still this line had been engraved into my mind, like one of those childhood idioms.

Some time ago I talked to a friend about forgetting and forgiving; and she raised a question which as well intrigued me: Is it Forget and Forgive? I thought it is Forgive and Forget – If you have already forgotten, what still needs to be forgiven?

I also realize that quite some people use Forgive and Forget instead. Perhaps this sounds more logical. I know not the philosophy behind Shakespeare’s sequence of the two; perhaps it was only because that sounds better……

I know not. Sometimes I feel I can never forgive. Sometimes I feel I can forget, and with forgetting, I will also forgive (or forget to hate). Sometimes I want to forget and forgive, sometimes I do not. To forget is easy, time just forces you to. To forgive is not, not until your ego has forgotten the insult.

If I am strong and wise enough, I would rather forgive but not forget.

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