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This essay is an in depth analysis of how Will Mossop changes throughout the course of the play. We first meet Will in Act 1 on page 9. Mrs Hepworth has recently bought an exceptionally well-made pair of boots from the shop and wishes to meet the man who made them, Will Mossop. However, she doesn’t tell the reason behind her visit and he believes that it is to scold Mossop about a badly made pair of boots. Upon coming ‘up trap’, Mrs Hepworth produces a visiting card.
Hobson still believes that this is to be a dressing down for Mossop and tries to get ahead of the game by saying, ‘I assure you it shall not happen again.’ Realising that Hobson is trying to look good and enhance his reputation, Mrs Hepworth puts him in his place by asking him what will not happen again. Unable to answer, he mumbles something and is embarrassed. With that Mrs Hepworth says, “I’ve tried every shop in Manchester and these boots are the best-made pair of boots I’ve ever had. Now you’ll make my boots in future.’
Throughout this passage Will Mossop doesn’t say a dozen words and is very timid. Our first view of the man is that he is a quiet, shy man and to a certain extent, finds it embarrassing to accept praise. I also get the feeling that because he is a typical working-class man he feels inferior to the Hobson family and especially Henry Hobson because he has made his own fortune.
We get our second look at Will Mossops character on page 15 of the book. Maggie has decided that she wants to leave home, marry Will and set-up shop with him. She has come to this idea after her father says she is now too old to marry and must stay with him to run the shop. Determined to prove her father wrong, she calls Will Mossop ‘up trap’. To begin with, she subtly drops the hints that she wants him, but due to his lack of experience with the opposite sex, he doesn’t catch on and she has to tell him exactly what she means and wants. Willy feebly tries to push her away but it doesn’t work and she convinces him that it is for the best. Will half-heartedly agrees even though they haven’t been seeing each other at all. This leads me to believe that Will was bullied as a child and is used to being told what to do no matter whether it was good or bad for his own prospects or what he wanted.
Only a few short pages later and Willies final character begins to emerge. He gets tired of being told what to do by Mr Hobson and being bullied by him. It all comes about when Maggie is telling her father of her engagement to Will and Mr Hobson hits Will with a leather belt. To this he remarks, ‘And I’ve nobbut one answer back. Maggie, I’ve none kissed you yet. I shirked before. But by gum, I’ll kiss you now – and take you and hold you. And if Mr Hobson raises up that strap again, I’ll do more. I’ll walk straight out of shop with thee and us two’ull set up for ourselves.’ With this outburst, Mr Hobson is taken aback.
With it coming from his faithful worker he doesn’t know what to say next. Maggie is also taken aback but reacts differently to it saying, ‘Willie, I knew you had it in you lad’, and puts her arm round his neck as if he is a trophy. Later in the play, Mossop would stand by every word he ever said, but on this first rebellious occasion, he is not totally convinced that what he has done was the right thing and his hands fall limply to his sides.
A month after this occasion, Vickey and Alice are the only ones left in the shop after Will and Maggie’s departure and with Hobson spending most of his time in the Moonrakers. Since Will left, all the high-class trade has gone with him and the takings are very poor. The pair of them are arguing about this and blame all the problems on Maggie and Will. Coincidentally Maggie and Will walk through the door at this very moment accompanied by Freddy Beenstock. Alice and Vickey seem taken aback at her appearance in the shop. Maggie now knows that Vickey and Freddy are going to be married and she believes that without her help, they never will.
Maggie offers her services to them saying, “You’ll get no further with it by yourselves from what I hear of fathers carryings-on.” Vickey clearly annoyed by this replies, “That’s your fault. Yours and his”, as she points at Will. She is clearly very annoyed by the sudden engagement of the pair and in a way she is being extremely selfish. When Maggie was still working in the shop, she would handle the accounts and orders, leaving Vickey and Alice to sell the shoes to people of the streets. Suddenly, the two sisters have an increased workload and resent the fact that the only reason they have to do some proper work is because Will and Maggie have left. They resent Will as they see him as the root of their own problems.