The Shakespeare Stealer

by Gary Blackwood

Start Free Trial

What is a summary of chapter 21 and 22 of The Shakespeare Stealer? What is most important in these two chapters?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

As Chapter 21 opens, Nick reacts to the knowledge that Julian is actually Julia. Widge says that he's never seen him at a loss for words, but this news shocks him into momentary silence. Widge reflects that, looking back, there were clues as to Julia's true identity. The sharers decide to let Julia continue with the play so that her part isn't read by a prentice.

Widge and Sander set out to look for Nick as the time for the performance approaches. When they find him, a student in the bar makes a joke that Nick fences with women; this offends him because he's been fencing with Julia believing her to be Julian. Nick attacks the student, but the student is the better fighter. Widge cries out that the student has killed Nick when the student cuts Nick's throat.

Chapter 22 begins as Widge throws a stool at the student. It knocks the rapier out of his grasp. As they work to treat Nick and deal with the authorities who come to the tavern, Sander asks Widge why he took Nick's side. Widge says Nick would have done the same for him; Sander doubts that. Nick isn't charged, but he does have to spend two weeks in the hospital and can't perform at Whitehall.

After a performance, Widge asks Julia why she hid her gender. She said it was the only way to perform and that she'd have been turned away as a girl. She says that she can't continue now because if the queen finds out, they'll all be in trouble. Because she can't be Ophelia, the part goes to Widge. He agrees to take it.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The boys discover that Julian is actually Julia, and that she has disguised herself as a boy over the last few months to pursue her dream of acting and her love of the theatre. Nick's drunkenness gets worse, and Widge and Sander are sent to find him in whatever tavern he has parked himself before the performance that night starts. They do succeed in locating him, but watch as Nick picks a fight with a student and fights a duel with him. Apparently, the student stabs Nick, killing him.

Chapter 22 begins as Widge attacks the student to get him away from Nick. Although it was a serious wound, what he had learnt working for Dr. Bright enabled him to see that no artery had been severed. Widge treats the wound, and says he protected Nick because he would have done the same for him. Sander says that he doubts this to be true.

Widge talks to Julia about why she disguised herself and she replies that everybody plays the roles that other people expect of them. She talks about how her love of theatre began and how important it is to her. Because now she is unable to act for the company, Widge needs to play the part of Ophelia in their performance in front of the Queen, and this is something that terrifies Widge.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team