"My hypothesis will be that Lear’s behavior in this scene is explained by—the tragedy begins because of—the same motivation which manipulates the tragedy through its course, from the scene which precedes the abdication, through the storm, blinding, evaded reconciliations, to the final moments: by the attempt to avoid recognition, the shame of exposure, the threat of self-revelation.
He cannot bear love when he has no reason to be loved, perhaps because of the helplessness, the passivity which that implies, which some take for impotence. And he wards it off for the reason for which people do ward off being loved, because it presents itself as a demand:
LEAR: No. Do thy worst, blind Cupid; I’ll not love. (IV, vi, 139)”