Franco

Franco is Massimo's brother. He was born in Scotland to Italian parents. He uses his Italian charm to charm women. In this way he represents some aspects of a stereotypical Italian man. He tells Rosinella:

quote
All I have to do is say 'Ciao Bella' and they're all over me

But Franco is far from a stereotype. He can be described as:

  • Loving
  • Family-orientated
  • Ambitious

Loving

Franco really loves Bridget Devlin. It is clear she is important to him. Early in the play his usual confidence wavers and he asks Hughie Have you ever heard her say anything about me?

As Franco and Bridget's relationship develops, he is respectful and considerate. He tells her I won't go all the way. I promise. When they do have a physical relationship he is keen to make sure she is comfortable and says I wouldn't want you to regret it. This shows his loving nature.

Family-orientated

Franco has a strong sense of family. He is close to Massimo and Rosinella and trusts them to keep his relationship with Bridget a secret. Franco clearly loves Lucia and is keen to make her laugh through coin tricks.

He is torn between a sense of loyalty to his father and his desire to get out of the shop and do something different with his life.

The letter he writes just before his death clearly shows how important his family is to him - Tell them they were in my thoughts up till the last. He even shows humourous affection for the father he has rebelled against:

quote
I will be with my father in heaven. No doubt he is still moaning and groaning and annoying.

Ambitious

Franco works in his father’s shop through loyalty but he wants more from life. He tells Rosinella:

quote
I cannie be expected to spend my whole life working from morning to night in a wee pokey shop.

It is Franco’s ambition to escape his Italian life. He was born in Scotland and feels less connection to Italy than his brother.

He seems to reject his heritage in favour of modern, Scottish/British culture. He dances to modern music, dates a Scottish girl and joins the British army – even though this could lead him to fight against Italy.

Question

Q How do we know Franco rejects his Italian heritage?

A Evidence could include him joining the British army. After he joins up, he and Massimo argue:

Massimo: …explain you’re Italian and –

Franco: But I’m not. I was born here. That makes me British.

It is debatable whether Franco joins the army out of a sense of Britishness. Is it just a way for him to escape his father’s shop?

Franco wants to be his own man. After joining up he says I don’t have to answer to anyone. No any more. But the lack of other job opportunities limits his options to escape. The army is his only route to building a life for himself. Ultimately, it is Franco’s ambition to get out that shop that gets him killed.