The Shakespeare Stealer

by Gary Blackwood

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What are some direct characterization quotes from The Shakespeare Stealer?

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A clear example of direct characterization is present when Widge, the first-person narrator, describes what he saw of the stranger who came in the shadows to Bright's rectory. Widge tells the stranger's height, stature, persona, clothing, boots and beard. There are three distinct descriptive passages in Chapter 2 dedicated to the stranger. In the third passage, when the stranger leans toward the light from the pot of burning pitch, his face comes out of the shadow cast by the hood of his cloak, and Widge sees the alarming features of his visage.

When the stranger first enters the apothecary, Widge suggests that his stature was imposing and strong when he tells us that "The stranger stood just inside the doorway, motionless and silent."

The psychological impact of his stature and bearing cause Widge to say he might be a malignant force of darkness: "He might have been taken for one of the shadows [in the unlighted room], or for some spectral figure--Death, or the devil--come to claim us."

Noting that the stranger was "well over average height," Widge tells what he noticed of the stranger's clothing: "[A] long, dark cloak of coarse fabric masked all his clothing save for his leather boots."

Because of the "grotesque shadows upon the walls," Widge can at first see only one feature of the stranger's face: "The only feature I could make out was an unruly black beard, which curled over his collar."

Later, when the stranger leans over the "flickering flames of [the] pitch pot," Widge is startled at the sight of a long scar on the stranger's face: "On his left cheek, an ugly raised scar ran all the way from the corner of his eye into the depths of his dark beard."

Other details of description, like "glowering looks," are sprinkled throughout until Widge and he arrive in Leicester and Widge is handed over to servants to be given a bed and food until it is time to be taken to meet Simon Bas.

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