Italians and Cordelia syndrome

Surveys, as we know, are usually a waste of time. But the results of the YouGov demographic research, supported by English newspaper the Guardian as well as the Bennett Institute for Public Policy at the University of Cambridge, are quite astonishing. (Photo Pexels)

The poll asked participants to indicate which countries they admire most. Well, the country that most Italians admire, is Italy.


For those who are Italian or for those who know Italians, this is not an obvious result. We Italians, particularly in recent decades, when asked an opinion on our country, are free with our bitter judgments and insults. We tend to think badly of  ourselves. Mocking, self-deprication and pathological complaining are among our favourite hobbies.

But then how to explain the results of this survey, that collide with the vision of Italy narrated by politics and newspapers? Could Italians suffer from Cordelia syndrome?


Cordelia was one of the three daughters of King Lear in the Shakespearian tragedy of the same name. Of the three, she was the one who refused to flatter her father, instead showing her true feelings towards him. She was banned and disinherited for her refusal to stroke her father’s ego, but was later proved to be the most authentic and genuine.


The theory is fascinating, and somewhat forced, but the phrase that King Lear exclaims during the storm resonates in our heads:


"I am more sinned against than sinning."