‘Hobson’s Choice’, by Harold Brighouse, was written in 1916 but it was set in the 1800’s in Salford.
The first act takes place in Hobson’s boot shop in Chapel Street. When we first meet Maggie we see that she is curt when she speaks with her younger sisters. ‘If he wants to marry you why doesn’t he do it?’ She also shows that she is an eager business woman when she convinces Albert Prosser to buy a new pair of boots. ‘You can’t go through the streets in odd boots,’ Albert was only in the shop you speak with Alice.
Maggie also deals with her father in a very business-like way when telling him to come home at a certain time to get his lunch. ‘If you stay more than an hour... you’ll be late for it.’ Even though Hobson acts like he is in control of the household, the audience soon realise that, in fact, Maggie is in control.
Shortly after, it is clear that Mrs Hepworth, a valued customer in the shop, thinks highly of Maggie. ‘You seem to have some sense.’ The audience then learn Hobson does not wish Maggie to wed because she is too useful.
It is when we first meet Willie Mossop that we learn more about the character of Maggie.
When Maggie decides Willie is the man for her, she sees that marriage, for them, is more like business partnership. ‘My brain and your hands ‘ull make a working partnership.’ Another characteristic we learn about Maggie is that she is socially above Willie but Maggie sees that Willie has the potential to make his own business. ‘You’re a business idea in the shape of a man.’
Maggie is not, however, without some humour. We see this when Willie tells her that he is to marry Ada Figgins. ‘The scheming hussy. It’s not that sandy girl who brings your dinner?’ The humour at this point would cause the audience feel more warmly to Maggie’s character.
In the second act, we see some of the same characteristics of Maggie. Also, some new characteristics are shown....