One of the strongest characters in the play is Maggie. For the time it was set, a strong, female protagonist was quite unusual. This represents the changing role of women, which adds to the comedy and also defies expectations. Harold Brighouse included this strong female because his mother was also very strong minded. Before her marriage, his mother had been a headmistress. His parents marriage in 1881 broke the conventions of the time, for John Brighouse had previously been married to his second wifes sister; as a result, until the law was later changed, Harold and his sister Hilda were technically illegitimate. As this defies the traditional laws, this is shown in the play. Maggie breaks the traditional ways, which Vickey and Alice play, which develops into comedy.
I think Brighouse wrote the play to celebrate his cultural background and his roots, which is Salford and the people that love there. I also think that as a result of this, Brighouse feels a connection with the different characters and personalities that he has created. This is one of the reasons that the characters jump of the page and are very 3 dimensional. These characters are almost based on real-life people but with a bit of extra motivation. Another reason is that we can all relate to characters in the play. We all know a business-minded, pushy woman and an egotistic, arrogant, chubby man. This is because this play is Brighouses personal interpretation of his own society.
The interplay and the relationships of the characters create the comedy. Without these good or bad relationships the play and the other characters wouldnt progress. We see one of these comical relationships when Maggie confronts Albert Prosser in the Hobsons. Maggie knows the real reason as to why he is here but her business-minded, pushy attitude gets the better of Albert e.g. ALBERT Oh no, I really dont want to buy them. MAGGIE (pushing him): Sit down Mr Prosser. You cant go through the streets in odd boots.
This forcefulness of a woman against a man, combined with Alberts fear of Maggie, creates comedy. The image of this dominant, assertive woman scaring a full-grown man and forcing him into doing something that he has no intention of doing is a comical relationship, which depicts Maggies character. We see Maggie carry out these features throughout the play. Another scene that we perceive this is when Maggie asks, or rather tells Willie that the two of them will marry e.g.
MAGGIE Youll do for me.
Maggie is again pushing a man into doing something he really doesnt want to go through with. Her intentions are not there to be disturbed and doing what she wants adds to Maggies improbable character. This treatment of Willie and the language that they both use creates comedy. Maggie refers to Willie as a business idea in the shape of a man. Willie, himself also believes that he is an object that cant defend itself rather than an able man e.g. WILLIE Shell have me from you if you dont be careful.
This weak attitude from Willie increases the comical severity of Maggies marriage proposal. The arrogance of Hobson is shown in many ways throughout the play such as the way Hobson degrades his loyal customer Mrs. Hepworth immediately after he had been complimenting and respecting her. However occasionally when he comes off arrogant he is really making a fool of himself e.g. HOBSON Ill have less uppishness from you or else Ill shove you off my hands on to some other men. You can choose which way you like MAGGIE One oclock dinner, father.