Context in Hobson's Choice - Coggle Diagram
Context in Hobson's Choice
Born on 26 July 1882 in Eccles - play was set in this time
Father: John Brighouse - worked for Manchester cotton factory and was a workaholic
Taught by his mother (a headmistress) - and got a scholarship to Manchester Grammar School
Starter there when he was 17 - visited theatres as much as possible
When he was 20 - moved to London and was an avid theatre goer
He was brought up in a happily secure middle class family
Hobson's Choice is his most famous play
Role of Victorian Women limited childbearing and house wife
Women encouraged to marry - they needed protection, weak and pure
Married women completely under guidance and supervision of husband
Single women were pitied and ridiculed by community
Maggie asks Willie to marry her - breaks the limitations,
'It seems to me to point one way... you're leaving me to do all the work my lad
Maggie takes charge complete, Willie doesn't have any choice
'I wish you'd leave me alone... So does the spider when the fly catches him. You're my man, Willie Mossop.
Alice and Vickey want to marry to 'escape' the problems of Hobson
Maggie is considered too old to get married by Hobson
Hobson doesn't want Alice and Vickey to choose their own husbands, they have no choice.
'Can't we choose husbands for ourselves?"
Hobson thinks that women are a waste of time and a burden on society.
'I've done with fathering... They're putting chains upon themselves and I have thrown the shackles off...
Victorian women had very conservative viewpoints
Generally accepted that dresses should be long - down to the floor, with long sleeves.
Your legs should never be shown in public or wear trousers
Hobson thinks that the latest fashion is indecent, and his girls cannot even choose dresses for themselves.
'You were going down Chapel Street with a hump added to nature behind you.
Hobson likes his daughters to look
Men were hired over women, but women gradually began to make significant inroads in employment
Hobson doesn't pay his girls at all, but Maggie is recognised as a good saleswoman
The girls are bullied by Hobson, and their only way out is to get married
Women were treated with respected, but women were viewed as being weak and not having any technique.
Hobson claims that he'll run his shop with only men, however when the girls do get married, the shop goes rapidly downhill in this state.
'It's temper ruining this shop, Mr Heller. Temper and obstinacy.' 'I order you to get Maggie back... but I prescribe her, and - damn ye, sir are ye going to defy me again.'
Women belonging to middle-class were expected to take education, help in family business and try and get married into the nobility.
In the Victorian era, very few were self-employed - nurse, writer etc.
Alice and Vickey are snobbish as to who they marry.
Horrified when Maggie announces she is marrying Willie Mossop - the boot hand.
'Maggie's spoilt our choices forever. Nobody's fretting to get Willie Mossop for a brother in law.'
Women not given responsible jobs
She was to give birth to children and look after the house
'My child comes first with me'
However, men had all kinds of freedom
The man was the head of the family and the guardian of the members
He was strong, brave and hardworking - stereotype
Stereotype of women - weak, shy and emotional compared to men
She was never aggressive
Very important concept of ideal women - pure and clean
In the play, the roles are reversed:
Women are not weak and shy
Maggie asks Will to marry him
Alice, Vickey and Maggie defy Hobson by getting married and choosing their own husbands.
In the end, the men have to rely on the women
'When a man's like this he wants a woman about the house.' 'Women are a necessity, sir. Have ye no female relative that can manage ye?'
1800s - attitudes began to change towards alcoholism as a result of industrialisation
Employers were looking for self-discipline rather than self expression
Drunkenness was a threat to industrial efficiency and growth
People blamed alcoholism for more and more problems - personal, social, religious, moral
Work was enough to prevent drunkenness - any consumption was unacceptable.
Groups promoted temperance: Demanded complete and total prohibition and distribution of alcoholism
Hobson's downfall is alcohol
His self-satisfaction makes him lose his shop - no aspiration beyond reputation
Alcohol is his escape
It's drunkenness that allows him to be tricked by Maggie into paying settlements to Alice and Vickey
When he as agreed, he is
'for the Moonrakers.'
He cannot recognise his problem - thinks he is giving himself reasonable refreshment
Dr MacFarlane notes that his complaint and character are linked
Brighouse shows us the adverse effects on family life - human reactions and the ruinous effect it has on the business - Hobson ends with less than he started with.
Willie was illiterate and was embarrassed of it - lower class
Maggie has had a good education and is good at business - middle-class
Hobson was an educated middle-class - owned a shop
Maggie teaches Willie to read and write when they are together
Mrs Hepworth is an accomplished lade - well-educated upper-class
Typical Victorian schools
often in poor inner city areas - 70-80 pupils/class
School imposing buildings - high up windows - prevent children from seeing out.
Walls lacked creativity - bare/text for children to look at
Village schools had smaller classes - although age groups would be varied
Teaching was monotonous and strict
Many children didn't go to school - wasn't compulsory
Class and education
Wealthy boys got the best education - able to attend public boarding school
Wealthy girls were accomplished - paint, play the piano etc.
Some did go to boarding schools or had governesses
Middle class could read and write - office jobs: lawyers, corn merchants, shop owners
1800s school became compulsory, although a lot of poor families needed children to work
Improvements to schools
1939 - first group of school inspectors employed
Ragged schools only possibility of education for those families who'd been turned away from other charitable/church schools
Ragged schools - free meals and clothing, taught them a trade such as shoemaking/domestic skills
1846 - government began to help pay for teacher training
Class and status in 1800s
Considered of aristocrats, nobles, dukes and wealthy families in Victorian courts
Had a powerful position - authority, better living conditions, other facilites
Best tutors to provide education - advantage at everything
Expensive clothes from Europe, empire, other riches of life
Mrs Hepworth - didn't have to work for a living, accomplished
Maid, gardener, butler and maybe cook
Mainly school educated
Upper middle class - factory owners, large scale business men, bankers, doctors, lawyers, engineers, clergymen
Dr McFarlane - doctor
Albert - lawyer
Freddie - corn merchant
Lower middle class - small scale business men, shop keepers, merchants, civil servants
Hobson - shop keeper:
'I'm British middle class and proud of it'
Alice and Vickey are snobs, especially after they are married. They don't want Willie as a brother in law, and after they are married they don't come back to look after Hobson
They are not paid good wages
Ada, her mother, Willie Mossop and Tubby - working class
Willie progresses from working to middle
Working class massive effects on economic, political, social structures
Lowers - working men/laborer, then intelligent artisan and then educated working man
Manchester school of Dramatics
No. of playwrights from Manchester who wrote plays in the early 1900s
The Repertory Movement broke from the tradition of basing productions around a star performer, and the actual play itself was more importnant
Repertory means type of theatrical presentation in which the company performs several works regular or in sequence in one season
Independent Theatre Society founded in 1891 - result of dissatisfaction of unchanging and poor commercial content of West End Theatre
Aimed to promote new plays for their own sakes with no consideration for their possible popular appeal.
Hired the Court Theatre in Sloane Square to perform their plays, which started a revolution in British Theatre
Annie Horniman set up the Gaiety Theatre - plays were represented by a recognisable constant company and would be played in short runs and held in repertoire
This provided Brighouse, amongst others a focus for playwriting and a context for both style and content
The Gaiety was the first true repoertory theatre
Had an indifferent response in Manchester, but its future was assured after a successful visit to London
The contest of theatrical change led Brighouse to write Hobson's Choice in 1915
Written in 1915
Audience lived in very different times
Lot to say about love and ambition
Maggie had the power - at the time there was suffragettes, and were fighting hard to achieve a fairer society
Women's emancipation strikes a chord today, and in 1916, social problems heart of theatre today.
Themes of right of women to determine their own lives and rebellion of younger generation against parental tyranny were current when Hobson's Choice was first performed: Hobson and Alice, Vickey and maggie
The fall of Hobson conforms to the traditions of classical comedy - main character incure the disapproval of the audience because of his behaviour.
Hobson is laughed at while Maggie behaves desirablely.