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In Hobson's Choice, how does Harold Brighouse make the audience aware of the changes in Willie Mossop's character?

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Twentieth Century Drama Rachel Cormack 10JGR/H1 "Hobson's Choice" by Harold Brighouse In Hobson's Choice, how does Harold Brighouse make the audience aware of the changes in Willie Mossop's character? In this assignment, I will be looking at the play "Hobson's Choice" which was written in 1914 by Harold Brighouse. I will scrutinize the way that the playwright makes the audience aware of the changes in William Mossop's character using quotes from the script. "Hobson's Choice" was a saying used in the late eighteen and early nineteen hundreds and to have Hobson's choice was to have no choice at all. Brighouse saw this as a title with scope for a play and wrote the script to fit the title. He set the play back in eighteen eighty, in Salford, Lancashire two years before he was born near Salford. "Hobson's Choice" tells the story of the Hobson family who live in Chapel Street, Salford and run a prosperous family boot making business. The head of the household is Henry Horatio Hobson, a widower with three daughters, Alice, who is twenty-three, the twenty-one, pretty Victoria and Maggie, the eldest at thirty. Maggie is invaluable to Hobson as she is an incomparable shop hand and obliging to the customers. The story begins with an argument occurring between Hobson and his daughters, concerning their manner towards himself. He proposes that, if their "uppishness" towards him does not cease, he shall choose husbands for Alice and Vickey to get them out of his way. When Maggie enquires about her fathers option of punishment for herself, he dismisses any chance of her marrying as she is too old, although in truth he finds Maggie too useful a shop hand to let her go. Hobson tells his companion Jim of his plans, but shortly after changes his mind on marrying his daughters off, as he feels the settlements are too expensive. ...read more.


She will have scheduled to have the business cards made and she arranged the loan from Mrs Hepworth. At the first idea of kissing Alice and Vickey Willie is not too keen. He makes an excuse by saying that cannot kiss very well, and Maggie dryly agrees with him. Although Willie is beginning to change, he still obeys Maggie, and as Vickey stated, Maggie always gets her way when she tells someone to do something. Maggie is a very strong person and some of this strength is beginning to wear off onto Willie, his confidence is growing and his personality is starting to become apparent, but Maggie still has the power to control his actions. Willie weakly protests, as he did when Maggie proposed, in a pleading way, as if hoping Maggie will just tire of the idea. He does not try to stop anything happening himself or physically, he attempts change Maggie's opinion on her idea to stop things. Although Maggie's sisters do not want to kiss Willie and Willie is just as unconcerned, they kiss him and Maggie is satisfied. After the girls kiss Willie his opinion changes from earlier and he enjoys be kissed by the two girls. "Vickey kisses Will, who finds he rather likes it... Willie: There's more in kissing nice young women than I thought." Brighouse has made Willie a very innocent character, which may imply that, although he said he was in love with Ada, and she with him, may not have had a physical relationship with her or anyone else, as he is new to kissing. He was nervous before but after kissing both, he realises that he likes it. Brighouse could have written this as a hidden meaning to describe how when Willie follows Maggie's advice he is introduced to new and better things. Maggie is showing him what the world outside of the boot shop is like and trying to introduce him to middle class. ...read more.


The audience will notice that Willie's speech to Hobson was not practised and rehearsed before hand, Willie did not plan what he said and he apologises to Maggie as he feels sorry for crossing her and arguing with her over the name of the shop. Maggie had told him to be strong and that is exactly what he was. He was put across as confident and assertive by what he has said, but at heart he is still very much the same kind and caring Willie that left Hobson's a year before. Conclusion Brighouse shows Willie as a shy, uncourageous man in act one when we are first introduced to him and gradually changes occur up to his talks with Hobson in act four where he is assertive and confident. He moves from lower class to middle through hard work determination and his faith in Maggie. Maggie's faith in him aids his efforts. The character changes begin as soon as Willie marries Maggie. He speaks his mind with Hobson and begins to be educated. Gradually Brighouse shows the audience how his intelligence increases and his confidence and courage does. Willie is respectful and obedient to Maggie throughout the play, even in act four. He trusts that she knows right and he follows her advice to achieve his goals. By writing the play with a year gap between act three and act four, Brighouse has made the change in Willie more believable to the audience, as if there was only a week passing his attitude would seem false as it had changed to fast. The year gap allows the audience to see somewhat a before and after character. Before marrying Maggie, Willie was lacking self-confidence, unintelligent and nervous and after a year of marriage, he is prosperous and confident. The last few lines before Hobson's return leave the audience sure that Willie Mossop is a changed man. The stage directions and speech show that over the year, love has entered his marriage with Maggie and he is truly changed. 1 ...read more.

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