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    Shakespeare’s words inspire life lessons

    Antonio Stroud, 20, of Hyde Park, was helped by stylist Callista Wilson before posing for promotional photos for Actors’ Shakespeare Project.
    ARAM BOGHOSIAN FOR THE GLOBE
    Antonio Stroud, 20, of Hyde Park, was helped by stylist Callista Wilson before posing for promotional photos for Actors’ Shakespeare Project.

    I read the article by Meghan E. Irons, “A life righted by Shakespeare” (Page A1, April 15), nodding vociferously. It is an antidote to the fact that teachers underestimate students.

    Having taught and directed eight plays, including two of Shakespeare’s, at the women’s prison at MCI-Framingham, I know that giving people access to and success with the Bard enables them to feel that all things are possible.

    “I am human. I make mistakes. I am misunderstood,’’ said Antonio Stroud of his encounter with the character of Othello. The women I taught responded with similar insight and had similar obstacles to overcome.

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    One with HIV faced herself by exploring the outsider, Shylock, in “The Merchant of Venice.” She said, “Thank you for giving me the chance to be someone else — if only for a day.”

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    Jean Trounstine

    Tewksbury

    The writer is the author of “Shakespeare Behind Bars: The Power of Drama in a Women’s Prison,” and is professor of humanities at Middlesex Community College.