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Exploring the play from the perspective of Willie Mossop’s Development.

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Introduction

Hobson's Choice Exploring the play from the perspective of Willie Mossop's Development. 'Hobson's Choice' by Harold Brighouse is a play set in Salford, Manchester in the 1880's. Throughout the play we see Willie Mossop's constant development from a lowly shoehand in Hobson's shop into its successful and confident owner. The title of this piece of coursework 'Exploring the play from the perspective of Willie Mossop's Development' is very appropriate because it is evident that Willie Mossop does not change as a person. He gradually develops and improves himself with the help of others though mostly through his own ambition. Willie Mossop's rise is of great importance and is actually the backbone of the play as all the characters can be measured against his actions and change. Will Mossop's first appearance in the play is in Act 1 when Mrs. Hepworth, an affluent high-class lady, comes to praise Willie for the boots he has made. Our introduction to him gives us an immediate impression of a poor and lowly worker, a somewhat "stunted" individual, which is hinted to us using the imagery of Willie coming up "like a rabbit" from a trapdoor in the floor. We can also gather that he is uneducated in that he is unable to read and cannot talk properly. However, despite all this we see that Will Mossop has potential as Mrs. Hepworth points out that "The man's a treasure". Hobson's 30 year old and eldest daughter Maggie then summons Will from the cellar and he nervously comes up. She tells him that she has been watching him for the last six months and that "everything I've seen I've liked". She suggests that together they could make an excellent partnership. "My brain and your hands will make an excellent partnership". Will is totally unresponsive to the message that Maggie is trying to convey to him. After a while Willie realizes that Maggie is proposing to him, and shocked at the progress of events he begins giving Maggie reasons why he is unable to marry her. ...read more.

Middle

Hobson disowns his daughters Will's shop is taking away Hobson's business Hobson is diagnosed with chronic alcoholism Will ultimately takes over Hobson's shop Hobson hands his business to Will Mossop Hobson is a very stubborn and ill-tempered man and his addiction to alcohol has ruined him, his relationship with his children, his business and his life. His drunken state which causes him to fall into the cellar is imagery used to show the audience Hobson's downfall through alcohol. He is proud of his status as a middle class man as we see when he says "I'm British middle-class and I'm proud of it." and he avoids loss of status and personal shame at all costs. At the beginning of the play we see that the daughters fear Hobson as it is visible when Albert checks whether Hobson is in before coming to court Alice. However due to his state and personality they begin to lose respect for him and rebel. This gives room for the introduction of Willie and as Hobson keeps getting worse, things just get better for Willie. The foolish choices that Hobson makes at the beginning of the play such as to drink and to neglect his family all lead him to have no choice and admit defeat at the end. This is the meaning behind the title of the play 'Hobson's Choice' which means having no choice at all. This theme is true for most of the characters in the play, for example Maggie who has no choice because her father forbids her to get married because she's "thirty and shelved". Although Hobson attempts to block Willie from progressing it is evident that Hobson is doing the opposite and is actually unwillingly helping Willie's development. A perfect example of this is the episode with the belt when Hobson wants to punish Will we see Will proving himself. Throughout the play Brighouse portrays Hobson as a mean bully and an unlikable character. ...read more.

Conclusion

First we see Hobson apologising for nothing and then Willie bends down when Mrs. Hepworth says "Take that", expecting a beating coming his way. The play is dramatic and full of action and it would not have had the same effect had it been a short story. One needs to visualize what is going on in order to understand the plot and to experience the tension and excitement involved. There are images such as the cellar and the ladder and themes which cannot be created simply with a short story. Furthermore the dialogues and interaction between characters, which is a major part of 'Hobson's Choice', can only be put to effect when written in play form. I think this play is perfectly suitable for a modern, twenty-first century audience. Although the play contains many historical and cultural issues we are still able to comprehend and understand them because some of them such as the equality between men and women still apply today. We can relate to the characters and their actions because they are exactly like ordinary human beings who have troubles and experience the usual ups and downs of everyday life. An example of this being the struggle Willie goes through to reach the top. Apart from that the play is very enjoyable to read and to watch and since it is dramatic and gripping it appeals to all audiences. In conclusion I can say that Willie's development is an amazing feat. The levels which he reaches in a year can only be reached by many in a lifetime. He has reached the top of the ladder and at the same time he has not let his success go to his head thereby remaining unchanged. We can take a lesson from this play that if one is ambitious and works hard one will be successful. Brighouse's play is about social, historical and cultural issues. He imaginatively explores relationships. The play is humourous and simply structured but nevertheless it is still full of content and meaning indicating the clever way in which it is written. ...read more.

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