In my essay I will be looking at Maggie’s role in the play and her character. I will also look at how she influences the other characters. Hobson’s Choice is set in 1880 (Victorian times) is Salford, Manchester but was written in 1915. With the play being set in Victorian times it has Victorian Values, like women have no independence and men are in charge of everything. The character Maggie has a crucial role in the play. She has a major role in the shop, she runs it literally on her own but gets help off her sisters.
Her father thinks that he is in charge but really Maggie is a she runs everything. Maggie influences others in the way that she is very bossy, for example Albert Prosser goes in the shop to see Maggie’s sister (Alice). Maggie tells him that he should by something or Hobson’ll throw him out of the shop. So he says that he’ll have a pair of bootlaces “I’ll just have a pair of bootlaces, please” but Maggie gets him to buy boots, “What size do you take in boots? It’s time you had a new pair” (page 2). Through this though she is also helping her sister.
Maggie is a very determined woman. A good example of this is on page 16. She calls Willie up from the cellar and tells him that he’ll be her husband, she doesn’t ask him she tells him “I’ve seen, I’ve liked. I think you’ll do for me. ” Her personality is very domineering, she is always in charge and she is the boss. On the outside she doesn’t show her feelings towards Willie. But she does come to love Willie as she makes her sisters and Hobson respect him “either I can go home or you can go and put a collar on for Will.
I’ll have him treated with respect” (to Hobson). Romance is really not a strong point of Maggie’s but she does have a soft spot. She gives up her free time to help Willie learn to read and write, “Now then, you can sit down here and copy that. ” Also on her own wedding night she is throwing a bouquet of flowers away but keeps one in a book (probably so she can remember the day). Maggie doesn’t really care about higher class and lower class because she is higher and Willie is lower. It can’t bother her because she marries Willie without a second thought.
Maggie’s approach to women is that she thinks they should have there own life and not be controlled by their fathers or partners. Maggie stands up to the men and wont let them tell her what to do, an example of this is when Hobson gets in to trouble and Maggie tells him how much he’ll pay, “You can afford five hundred pounds and you’re going to pay five hundred pounds”(page 53). Maggie is a good businesswoman, she knows what she is doing and can get people to buy things. This is shown when she gets Albert Prosser to buy his boots (I have mentioned in an earlier paragraph).
Maggie is clever which is why she runs the business so successfully. Hobson talks about Maggie to his friends in “Moonrakers” like she isn’t a person, but an object. He says, “Maggie is to useful to part with”, so obviously he saying that Maggie is a useful person (she is) to have working in the shop. Maggie isn’t always selfish and thinking of herself, she does think of her sisters. For example Maggie makes Hobson pay up to the solicitor when really the money is for her sisters weddings.
Throughout the play Hobson goes through a number of different changes. Hobson starts off at the beginning of the play having no respect for his daughters and thinks that they should do whatever he says. For example he tells them off for starting to tell him what to do and Hobson doesn’t like it and tells them they’ll get out of the habit. He then says to them “I’ll choose a pair of husbands for you, my girls”. Hobson starts off being very superior to his family but this soon changes throughout the play.
Hobson especially looks down on Willie and doesn’t like it when Mrs Hepworth gives him praise for making her boots, he constantly says things like “I assure you it shall not occur again”. Maggie soon changes Hobson by tricking him in certain ways. When he falls down Beenstocks cellar Maggie sees it as a great opportunity to get some money out of her father for her sisters to get married. She does this by inviting her father around to her and Willies house, when he shows the form to them she brings out Albert Prosser who is a lawyer and tells Hobson either sort it out with him or go to the courts.