Is it better to try to please somebody and to compliment, to border on "lie", or is it better to remain honest, but run the risk of sounding insulting? The ultimate choice of Cordelia is much the same that Shakespeare made when writing his sonnets. At first, he wrote epideictic language to flatter and to idealize his love object in the poetry. Much like King Lear in the beginning of the play, he is "blinded". Later on he decides to be more honest, evident in Sonnet 130--"My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun"--at the risk of sounding insulting, but it reveals that he cares more, because he is more honest and he's done with lying.
But in this story, it IS better to try to please somebody, rather than to be purely honest and tactless. If Cordelia's answer is seemingly the cause of the tragedy in King Lear, then the question is WHY????
"Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave
My heart into my mouth. I love your majesty
According to my bond, no more no less."
"You have begot me, bred me, love me.
I return those duties back as are right fit--
Obey you, love you, and most honour you.
Why have my sisters husbands if they say
They love you all? Haply when I shall wed
That lord whose had must take my plight shal carry
Half my love with him, half my care and duty.
Sure, I shall never marry like my sisters..."
Here, Edgar echoes Cordelia's conundrum:
"Yet better thus and known to be contemned
Than still contemned and flattered. To be worst,
The low'st and most dejected thing of fortune,
Stands still in esperance, lives not in fear."