This is a character study on a character from the play Hobsons Choice by Harold Brighouse. The character I am going to study is Hobsons principal bookmaker, Willie Mossop. The story of Hobsons choice is about Hobsons single mindedness, which is shown in the way he attempts to live his life, run his household, and to rule his daughters. It is seen In the eldest daughter Maggie’s dominance and the grooming of Will and not least in her finally, at the age of 30 standing up to her own father.
The other two daughters Alice and Vickey also inherit this characteristic. What sets Maggie apart from the rest of her family is that she uses this quality not only for her benefit of others, not least though he is initially unconvinced, Willie Mossop. Thos play is also the story of the transformation of Willie. Willie was a working class man who worked in Henry Hobson’s boot shop, he had little future until Maggie Hobson spotted talent and developed him into a successful man.
When Willie is first seen in Act 1 page 9 he is described as a “Lanky fellow, about thirty, not naturally stupid but stunted mentally by a brutalised childhood. He is a raw material of a charming man but at present, it requires a very keen eye to detect his potentialities” One thing I notice about Willie is that he is an extremely shy and nervous man as Mrs Hepworth a member of the Upper class says “Take that” Willie in worry bends over rather expecting “That” to be a blow. Then he raises his head to find she is holding out a visiting card with her address apon it. As Willie tries to read what is written apon the card he finds he can’t, his excuse is that the print is funny as he tries to hide his embarrassment. As Mrs Hepworth carries on talking Hobson thinks Willie has done something wrong and says.
“I assure it will never happen again” By this you can see Hobson doesn’t have any faith in Willie. The thing is because, Mrs Hepworth has searched everywhere in Manchester for a pair of boots and there haven’t been any ones see has liked these are the best she has found. Therefor Mrs Hepworth asks Willie to let her know whether he ever moves shop, as she wants him to make her shoes for her When the play begins nothing is said of Willie and no one talks of him until Mrs Hepworth spots a great talent in him. No one can really see Willie’s potential apart from Maggie, who can see beneath the surface of Will. Willie gets his first taste of praise when Mrs Hepworth demands to see him to congratulate him on his ability to make boots, “I’ve tries every shop in Manchester, and these are the best made pair of boots I’ve had. Now you’ll make my boots in future.”
This is not much to Willie, as he does not really take it in he just wants to disappear down the cellar where he can hide away from the company of other people. Willie is very shy and has no confidence at all and he has no idea of his future, apart from work by himself quietly! When Will is approached by Maggie he is very scared of her and wants to go away from her. He wants no business with her at all because he is not good at communicating, he gets embarrassed easily and hates attention. Other people just ignore Willie, to them he is just the young man that was employed to make the boots for Hobson’s boot shop. Hobson thinks very little of him and underpays him as one part says: Mrs H: “The mans a treasure and I expect you underpay him.”
Hobson: “That’ll do Willie. You can go.” Mr Hobson immediately dismisses him, as he knows that he does underpay him, and wants to change the subject, this shows how little Mr Hobson thinks of Willie. The sisters also don’t think much of Willie, and they go for the upper class rich people. When Maggie tells them that she intends to marry Will they are very shocked. Alice: “You’re going to marry Willie Mossop! Willie Mossop! They are very shocked because Willie is a working class man and they are considered to be posh also they believe that if Willie is in the Family then no one else will want to marry them as they wont want Will as a brother in law.
Maggie is in charge of the shop and she can see that Will is a very hard worker who deserves more in life. “Do you know what keeps this business on its legs? Two things: one’s the good boots that sell themselves, the other is the bad boots other people make and I sell.” Maggie knows that this is how the shop works and without Will they would be nothing. She knows that he can get more out of life so she tries to make him marry her but he won’t because he has been forced to marry someone else. This shows that he is pushed around and can’t stick up for himself. Will is almost pushed around with Maggie, as he has no confidence. Will is afraid to try to do well and he has no career plans for the future as he is too shy to try, he says “Nay, I’d be feared to go in them fine places.”