On the naughty step - Conduct that deserves a ticking off

8th February 2013 at 00:00

This week: William Shakespeare

To the naughty step this week we welcome possibly the greatest Englishman ever and the country's most famous writer: William Shakespeare, the man who continues to draw tourists and their cash to our ailing economy almost 400 years after he died. Oh, and provide some entertainment with his plays.

Of course, the naughty step takes no delight in the presence of the Bard of Avon. And his punishment is not down to any of the trivial teenage complaints so often aired such as "not writing proper, like" or his incessant use of iambic pentameter.

No, Shakespeare is on the step for his portrayal of Richard III, who this week emerged from beneath a car park in Leicester to become a national treasure.

Admittedly the evidence suggests that Shakespeare, accused of being a Tudor propagandist, was right about Richard being a hunchback who was probably guilty of the odd child murder or two. But we now know that the Bard was wrong about the withered arm. Ha!

Granted, Shakespeare wouldn't have got very far with a play about a not-so-Machiavellian monarch who was the misunderstood victim of discrimination. But this week proves the public's love of Richard, despite his being unfairly maligned in GCSE lessons for decades. Dramatic licence is no excuse. Think on that, Shakespeare, for now is the winter of your discontent.

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