What is Falconer's secret identity in "The Shakespeare Stealer"? Who is he really?

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Falconer is really Simon Bass, the aging, small-theater owner who assigns Widge the task of stealing Shakespeare's play Hamlet from the famous and established acting troupe the Chamberlain's Men, so that his own company can perform the work while it is still new.

Upon discovering that Widge is adept at...

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Falconer is really Simon Bass, the aging, small-theater owner who assigns Widge the task of stealing Shakespeare's play Hamlet from the famous and established acting troupe the Chamberlain's Men, so that his own company can perform the work while it is still new.

Upon discovering that Widge is adept at charactery, a type of shorthand, Bass buys his apprenticeship for ten pounds sterling.  He sends his servant, the cloaked and hooded Falconer, to fetch Widge to his new home.  Bass is a nondescript, balding gentleman, while Falconer is a spectral figure, sinister, brusque, and threatening.  Bass says of his alter-ego, "Falconer is not the most communicative of men, nor the most genial...but he is reliable, and effective".  Most of Widge's dealings with his new master are through his swarthy servant (Chapter 3).

Falconer's true identity is revealed only moments before his death, after he has been beaten in a ferocious duel with Mr. Armin, Shakespeare's scribe and the Company's fencing master.  As he lies dying, Falconer removes his mask, telling Armin, "I suppose you have a right to see the true face of the man you've slain". 

 

 

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