The Shakespeare Stealer

by Gary Blackwood

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What is the turning point of The Shakespeare Stealer?

Quick answer:

The climax of The Shakespeare Stealer occurs when Mr. Armin and Widge finally confront Falconer after discovering that he was just another part played by Simon Bass, or Steven Shakespeare.

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The turning point in this excellent story comes when Widge finally decides to place his lot with the Players and to oppose Falconer, in spite of what may happen to him for this switching of sides. Although the novel presents Widge gradually shifting his allegiance bit by bit as he becomes more and more enraptured by the Players and the stage, his loyalties become clear in Chapter 24 when he sees Nick with Falconer and understands that Falconer is now enlisting Nick's help to steal the copy of Hamlet. This is when he reveals how he knows Falconer to Sander. Note how he explains himself to Sander:

I didn't think of it as wrong at first. I thought ofit only as a ob given me by me master. That was before I kenned any of you. Don't you see, an I'd meant to carry it out, I had ample chance. Gog's bread, I had the book in me hands!

This represents the true turning point in the novel, and in Widge's life. He has finally found something worth living for and a home and family to call his own. This becomes immensely more valuable than anything else, and gives Widge the courage to be open and honest and also to oppose Falconer in his attempt to gain the text he so desperately seeks.

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What is the climax in The Shakespeare Stealer?

The climax of this book is of course when Mr. Armin and Widge confront Falconer at the point when he has finally gained the copy of Hamlet that he has been wanting for so long. The duel that Mr. Armin and Falconer fight occurs in Chapter 27, and it represents the climax of the plot because this is the conflict that the entire text has been leading up to as Widge becomes more and more involved in the players and begins to like acting more and more. The way in which this duel is the climax is indicated through the following quote where Widge contrasts the fake weapons they use in theatre with the real weapons that are used in reality:

But this was a grown man's game, and the winner would not be the one whose weapon survived but the one who lived. And, I thought, clutchign the play book to my chest, if that one proved to be Falconer, then what would become of me?

Of course, this climax also results in the discovery that Falconer himself does not exist, and that he is just another part played by Simon Bass.

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