“Infirmity doth still neglect all office
Whereto our health is bound; we are not ourselves
When nature, being oppress’d, commands the mind
To suffer with the body: I’ll forbear.” (King Lear act 2, sc. 4)
Tips for use. That our behavior cannot constantly emulate perfection is an unavoidable reality. Usually we have only ourselves to apologize to for our failings. But occasionally we may attribute them to a good reason or cause, for example, when we are not feeling well. It is a plausible explanation (or excuse). Try, “I am sorry but…. we are not ourselves when nature, being oppress’d, commands the mind to suffer with the body.” If your errors, failings or mishaps are not recurrent, you may get away with it. It can also be a good justification for harsh words or rudeness or otherwise unkind behavior.
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In the play. Lear thinks that the very poor treatment he got from his daughter Regan may be due to her being ill.