Letter: Universal truth and oppositional subtlety justify Shakespeare's lasting appeal

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Sir: To have to reply to Howard Brenton's scatter-shot attack on Shakespeare - he charged too much for his seats, was nervous of the establishment, has been too influential on modern writers - is provoking, as his aim so clearly was to annoy rather than illuminate ('Will of the people?', 2 June). But annoyed I am.

The 'universal' truth in Measure for Measure is the evil of tyranny and the powerlessness that its victims feel. There are many countries and people to whom this speaks, and that is precisely its greatness. It is because Shakespeare's work does not depend on interpreting obscure codes and meanings that thousands go to see it - and will continue to do so long after audiences have tired of wading through the historical footnotes to Pravda.

Yours faithfully,


London, W9