1. What sort of life could orphans expect in England in 1601? Was Widge's experience with masters unusual?
2. Research Shakespeare's life and write a short profile of the playwright.
3. Why were women not allowed to be actresses in Shakespeare's time? Are there jobs in present-day England that are not open to women?
4. Write a descriptive essay of a walk down the street in Shakespeare's London. What features would set London apart from other cities of this period?
5. This book is set near the end of Queen Elizabeth's long reign. Recount her accomplishments as a monarch.
6. Describe the publishing world in England in 1601. Why did playwrights not immediately publish their plays?
7. Swordplay is important in Shakespeare's plays and in the adventure in Blackwood's novel. Describe the different moves that Widge must learn for the play. What different moves did Nick and Mr. Armin use in real sword fights?
8. How important are role models for young people? Who were Widge's role models and how did they affect his ideas of right and wrong?