In what ways did Widge change from an orphan to a player and how did his life change? Include major events and influential people in your response.

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kiwi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Widge summarises his change at the end of the novel. He refers to the new language he has discovered when moving to London from the country. He says of the words he has learnt -

the ones that had made the most difference to me were the words I had heard before and never fully understood their import -words such as honesty and trust, loyalty and friendship.

And family.

And home.


Widge has no concept of human relationships beyond simple survival until he meets the players. He is frequently confused when asked his opinion or preference: for example when he is asked if he would like to play the part of Ophelia. He realises that friendship is important, and can be painful, as he keenly feels the loss when Julia leaves for France.

The revelation that Falconer and Simon Bass are the same person illustrates to Widge that others can hide their true identity and feelings, as he did. He learns that there is a valuable outlet for this deception in the form of theatre.

Through his unpleasant relationship with Nick, Widge learns that loyalty sometimes becomes instinctive as he chooses to save Nick's life after the duel. He does this as he is beginning to feel affection for the players, as he is told earlier by Sander:

The theatre is a sort of family

Widge also learns to have faith in himself and his own skills, as a member of the players but also as a loyal friend. He is now able to develop his own identity and express himself with out repression.

Read the study guide:
The Shakespeare Stealer

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