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How is the historical context of 'Hobson's Choice' reflected in the portrayal of male and female characters in the play?

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Introduction

Hobson's Choice - Post 1914 Drama English literature course work How is the historical context of 'Hobson's Choice' reflected in the portrayal of male and female characters in the play? The play 'Hobson's Choice' was written in 1916 but set in 1870 in Salford. In the 1870's a woman's property was in law of her husband's property and 'she' had no vote. The play's events are set in Victorian times, but its ideas and attitudes were in a generation later when it was written and performed. The themes were base on the rights of women and also a link between rebellion of the younger generation. The moral of the story is shown as a conceited and self-centred old man when he is deflated, while a victim of his despotism, 'a backward lad', grows to his full potentialities, marries the boss's daughter and takes over the business. This shows quite a reckless image showing that the play chronicles a shift in balance of power between the generations and sexes. This just showed that hierarchy in the Victorian times was not obeyed by this family as Maggie and William tries working their way up. ...read more.

Middle

Through out the play we see the similarities of Maggie and Hobson who like daughter like father are both very self-opinionated which not a very usual thing for a female was in the Victorian period. Although she is quite independent and bossy; "Come up, and put the trap down; I want to talk to you." This shows Maggie ordering William around, a very unrealistic thing for a woman to do in the Victorian era. Maggie is 30 years old, considered to be 'on the shelf' by her father, Hobson. Later does he realise he is proven quite wrong. Maggie's relationship with Hobson is different from Vickey and Alice because in that day and age, women weren't allowed to be the head of the house, have a say in anything. Maggie isn't like that; she's independent and doesn't take orders from anyone. Vickey and Alice are both very similar in their characters. Both daughters of Hobson are very pretty. Vickey the younger of the two is aged 21 tries getting her way quite indirectly; "Hobson: "There's been a gradual increase in uppishness towards me." Vickey: "Father, you'd have more time to talk after we've closed tonight. ...read more.

Conclusion

Jim Heeler is Hobson's bosom friend and confidant. He discusses 'settlements' with Hobson and tries to express his opinion, Hobson doesn't criticise him as he would criticise his daughter due to sex and generation. Timothy Wadlow, (Tubby) is used later to show the deterioration in Hobson's business. At his working class level, he is one of the lowest class members of the caste even though he is 'male'. Albert Prosser and Fred Beenstock are Alice and Vickey's suitors and, through careful plotting, are also a lawyer and trade respectively working on the professional side, each of whom have a part to play in Maggie's plotting against her father. Brighhouse uses his characters to show the portrayal of male and female characters in the play, by showing an amusing comedy of women dominating men, which seemed quite barbaric in Victorian times. I don't think this play would be successful as it was then, due to the fact of it being general life, seeming to be nothing new for us. As we have 'equal rights' and the generation today has more freedom. I do believe that the play would have been successful overall, as I think people would be interested and amused by people's opinions in the Victorian era. As it contains a fair amount of stereo types, conflict and comedy, Sonia Kumar 10JD Ms Vicars-Miles ...read more.

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