22 MAY 1993, Page 25

Quite fathomable

Sir: What does Dot Wordsworth find 'mys- terious' about Shakespeare's use of 'sea- change' in The Tempest (Mind your lan- guage, 15 May)? Ferdinand has already been told that his father's eyes have been turned to pearls and his bones to coral; Ariel goes into something with marine con- nections — hence 'sea-change'. Where's the problem? The fact that cliché-loving journos and politicians misuse the phrase to add decoration to their boring utterances needn't obscure the perfectly simple origi- nal meaning.

Michael Grosvenor Myer

34 West End, Haddenham, Cambridge