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Maggie is the eldest of Hobson’s three daughters. Of the three she is the most intelligent and most valuable to Hobson. She has a very hardened appearance and almost mothers the other three, Hobson, Vicky and Alice. In the beginning of the book, she works in Hobson’s shoe shop along with her two sisters. She is a great sales woman and because of this, she is very valuable to Hobson, Hobson himself says ‘Maggie’s to useful to part with. ‘ Brighouse has written Maggie into the play to be very forcefully and dominant. She does not let a customer go out of the shop without making a purchase.
This happened when Albert Prosser came into see Alice, his girlfriend. Maggie turned to him and exclaimed ‘This is a shop, you know. We’re not here to let people go out without buying. ‘ These qualities make Maggie a very successful businessperson. It is these qualities that make Maggie so important to her father, Hobson. If Maggie were to leave then the business would cease and Hobson would be in a very big mess. I think Maggie struggles when it comes to love and marriage, which inevitably creates problems for her. I do not think she knows how to express her feelings properly without hurting others feelings.
She does not think courting should be carried out before marriage. Maggie states ‘Courting’s like that my lass. All glitter and no use to anybody. ‘ I think this is why Will Mossop is so surprised when Maggie asks him to marry her. They had not courted at all before Maggie’s proposal. I think Brighouse has made Maggie’s character seem even stranger by this as it was very unusual for a proposal to come from a woman in those days. I think she has this problem because she is so dominant and strong. In the shop she is so used to getting her way first time round that she expects it to happen every time.
Will Mossop does eventually agree to marry her but only after some persuasion. Maggie’s knows her father inside out. She knows that Hobson drinks a lot of alcohol. The book starts with a conversation between Maggie, Alice and Vicky. Vicky asks Maggie if Hobson has had breakfast yet and Maggie replies ‘Breakfast! With a Masons’ meeting last night? ‘ Every time Hobson goes out, he is always late back and has always had too much to drink. This irritates Maggie as he is always late for dinner and results in her nagging her farther.
Maggie can be rude in the way she teats people. Just before she proposes to Will, she says ‘it’s a pity you’re a natural fool at all else. ‘ She also treats her sisters in a horrid way. It’s as if she is jealous of something they have that she does not. I think Brighouse wants the audience to see Maggie as a strong minded, dominant character and portrays her as such by making her an important lead in the story. She is the centre hub upon which all the other characters depend to interact in the story. She is a key character who plays a very large role in the first act.