Maggie is the dominant character in the play, the focus of events and most of the scenes revolve around her. She does not really change much during the play we just discover hidden aspects of her character. Will is more important because his character develops as a person and grows in stature. The audience watches his journey from the beginning of the play to the end and see him transformed from the lowest character, in terms of social standing and position in life, to someone who is at the top. His journey of self-improvement is the main theme of the play. Through hard work, determination and ambition he makes a better life for himself and Maggie, and moves up in the world. .
Maggie is important because she moves the plot along by her actions: "She comes to Will, shines the light on him, takes him by the ear, and returns to bed." Her character does not undergo the transformation that Will does. By the end of the play she has retreated into a less powerful role. It seems she actually wanted this role all along, but had to act tough to get it. She may seem harsh and cold on the surface, but as the play unfolds we see that she does have a warmer, romantic side. These are new qualities. Maggie does not make Will into someone different, she just allows him to develop his hidden talents. By taking a less dominant role as the play moves on it makes Will's journey in the opposite direction stand out more. We see him change from submissive and unsure to confident and determined. The contrast in their roles in their relationship from Act 1 to Act 4 is very clear to the audience. .
The fact that Will starts off from such a low position means he has greater scope for improvement. His journey and development as a person is longer. Over the four acts his character rises up in the world. Will's journey starts at a low point: he has little confidence; does not recognise his talents; is afraid of Hobson and has no knowledge in anything but boot-making.