The main character of The Shakespeare Stealer is an orphan boy named Widge. Widge is a dynamic character, and he grows throughout the book. Widge is smart, as he is able to learn shorthand while apprenticed to Dr. Bright. He follows orders, as Dr. Bright teaches him that, as an indentured servant, he is owned by someone. At first, Widge does not know right from wrong because he was never taught that. When he realizes Dr. Bright is stealing sermons, Widge wants to stop—not because he morally knows it is wrong, but because he is scared he will be caught.
Widge begins to grow as a character when he is fourteen and sold to Simon Bass, who orders Widge to steal Shakespeare's Hamlet. Widge joins the players, and begins to make friends. This is when he begins to develop a moral code, and feels a sense of loyalty to the players the longer he stays with them.
Widge is young and naive but also smart, and learns about ethics throughout the story.
Widge grows up as an orphan for the first seven years of his life, and then he becomes an indentured servant. While working for his first master, Widge learns to write charactery, a shorthand code that allows him to write down everything that's being said. Widge has never had a family or a friend, and he has never been taught right from wrong. When he's fourteen, Widge is sold to another man who wants him to go to the play Hamlet and write it down in code so the man can perform the play with his troupe. When the actors take Widge in, he feels a sense of security and friendship for the first time in his life. He has to learn how to be a friend in the theater, and he learns to feel respect for himself and others.