Themes In Blood Brothers Essay


Violence has a presence in the working class characters’ lives from a young age. When we first meet Mickey as a seven year old, he has a toy gun and he plays games involving imaginary guns with his friends and neighbours. The violence escalates as the play progresses, culminating in the tragic death of Mickey and Edward. Sammy, Mickey’s older brother, is a key character linked to this theme and he is connected in some way to most of the violent acts in the play. Violence reflects a lack of control; when characters start to lose power in some way, they become more violent.

The working class children are linked to violence from a young age

How does Russell show this?

When we see Mickey and his friends as young children, they play a variety of games that are all linked to guns and death.



At this point, the violence is only pretend and after being ‘killed’, the children can join the game again. However, the games foreshadow the later violence at the end of the play, and remind the audience of how present this is in the characters’ lives.

Sammy gets Mickey involved in an armed robbery

How does Russell show this?

Sammy persuades Mickey to be a lookout when he robs a garage, but the robbery goes wrong and Sammy shoots someone.



Sammy is able to persuade Mickey to get involved with this violent act because he has such little power over his life after losing his job. It is this event which leads to him going to prison and becoming depressed and then growing apart from Linda, which causes her to find comfort with Edward. Sammy involving Mickey in his plan is the catalyst for the tragic ending.

Mrs Lyons becomes violent towards Mrs Johnstone

How does Russell show this?

When Mrs Lyons realises that the Johnstones have also moved to the countryside (and Edward has been visiting them) she visits Mrs Johnstone to try to persuade her to leave.



Mrs Lyons becomes irrational and paranoid and accuses Mrs Johnstone of following her. She then lunges at Mrs Johnstone with a kitchen knife. This reflects how violence is linked to feelings of powerlessness and instability. Violence is a reaction by characters to their feelings of weakness and lack of control over what happens to them.

Mickey shoots Edward by accident

How does Russell show this?

When Mickey is full of fury at Edward and Linda’s betrayal, his first thought is to take a gun to find his ‘blood brother’.


[Mickey waves at Edward with his gun hand. The gun explodes and blows Edward apart. Mickey turns to the police screaming the word “No”. They open fire and four guns explode, blowing Mickey away.]


Mickey taking the gun and going to find Edward reflects how he has resorted to violence to fight his own lack of control, like Mrs Lyons. However, Mickey shooting Edward is accidental. This demonstrates how violence can take over the characters’ lives. The repetition of the word reflects the devastating impact that violence has on the play and characters.


How does Russell explore the theme of violence in Blood Brothers?

  • Violence is present throughout the play, becoming more and more serious as the play develops. Sammy starts off playing with toy guns and pretend games like the other children, but moves on to threatening a bus conductor with a knife and then committing an armed robbery.
  • Mickey looks up to Sammy and is drawn into the violence as he gets more desperate due to his unemployment.
  • Characters become violent when they feel despairing or feel like they have lost control over their lives. This is clear through the characters of Mrs Lyons and Mickey in particular.

Exploration of Themes in Blood Brothers

  • Length: 895 words (2.6 double-spaced pages)
  • Rating: Excellent
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - More ↓
Exploration of Themes in Blood Brothers

Blood Brothers is a hugely popular play and musical written by the
well-known author of Educating Rita, Willy Russell. It is fast moving
and perceptive, entertaining and thought-provoking, funny yet
ultimately tragic. It tells the tale of twin brothers who are born
into a large working-class family and what happens when their mother
decides to have one of them adopted. Blood Brothers looks at the
differences and conflicts of their upbringings, their relationships
with each other and with their real and adopted mothers. The play is
set in Liverpool, 1962 and continues for around 20 years. Mrs
Johnstone and her family live in a poor part of Liverpool in contrast
Mr and Mrs Lyons lives a comfortable life in the more comfortable end
of town.

There are many themes used in 'Blood Brothers', the main ones being
based on class and superstition. In the country, class effects how
people are able to live their lives and the situations they are in. In
'Blood Brothers' Mrs Johnstone lives in a poor end of Liverpool,
struggling to bring up eight children on her own and is forced to give
one away to keep the others clothed and fed well enough, whereas Mrs
Lyons, whom she works for, lives in a large house, very comfortably in
a nice part of Liverpool, she wants children but is unable to have
any, even though she is rich, unlike Mrs Johnstone.

Love is a theme, shown by the two women who love their sons but show
it in completely different ways, and how Linda's Close friendship
slowly gets replaced with love for Eddie and Mickey. Along with
superstition, this is the basis of the whole story and is a theme that
continues throughout the whole play, the consequences of most of the
happenings can be traced back to superstition. It is also the reason
for the tragic end of the play. Superstition also features heavily in
some of the songs, the best example of this is the song "Shoes upon
the table" that features quite early on, when Mrs Lyons uses Mrs

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Exploration of Themes in Blood Brothers." 14 Mar 2018

LengthColor Rating 
Blood Brothers by Willy Russell Essays - Blood Brothers by Willy Russell Linda goes to Eddie who is on the counsel, and manages to get a counsel house. [IMAGE] She also gets him a new job. He becomes unresponsive. Linda who loves him very much, ends up being very unhappy which ultimately leads to her affair with Eddie. [IMAGE][IMAGE] He takes dugs to help him deal with life. [IMAGE][IMAGE] Another example is when Mrs Johnstone wants to take her other twin back Mrs Lyons uses superstition to keep Eddie: Mrs Lyons, page 13, “That if either twin learns that he was one of a pair they shall both immediately die....   [tags: Blood Brothers Essays]1197 words
(3.4 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]
Exploring Elements of Blood Brothers Essay - Exploring Elements of Blood Brothers 'Blood Brothers' has many features that appeal to its audiences. The play has a very strong plot, with many dramatic incidents. Doing this makes the play very interesting, and helps keep a quick pace, therefore keeping the audiences attention. ===================================================================== There have been many themes that have interested audiences of 'Blood Brothers'. The theme are particularly like is the one which expresses the friendship between Mickey, Edward and Linda; and the ways their friendship alters through the play....   [tags: Blood Brothers Essays]716 words
(2 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]
Blood Brothers, by Willy Russell Essay - Blood Brothers is a very popular play written by author and playwright Willy Russell. It was first performed in a Liverpool school in 1981. Willy Russell himself was born and brought up in Liverpool by his working class mother and father. At school he was an academic failure he left with one O level in English. After six years working as a hairdresser he went back to college part time to get decent qualifications. The play is about twin brothers born into a large family, one child is given up for adoption and the other is kept....   [tags: Blood Brothers Essays]918 words
(2.6 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]
Blood Brothers, by Willy Russell Essay - Blood Brothers Blood Brothers is a story of a pair of twins who are separated at birth. They are brought up in totally different ways and this is shown through the characters register, body language and reactions to each other. They story is told by various methods such as the use of an interventionist narrator and soliloquy in the form of songs by the characters. In this essay I intend to analyse various techniques and themes which help establish this play to the succesful status it has attained....   [tags: Blood Brothers Willy Russell Essays]2093 words
(6 pages)
Powerful Essays[preview]
Assessment of Blood Brothers, by Willy Russell Essay - Assessment of Blood Brothers. Paper 1 unit 2 'Blood Brouthers' when we first was told about the play I did not know what it was about, I had heard of it before but I had never seen or read any of the play. Then we were told the basic story of the play and the playwright's history: · The play was set in the early 1970 · It was written by the playwright Billy Russell · There have been two different versions of the play scripts that have been written by Billy Russell, one being the original and the other being a modern musical version....   [tags: Blood Brothers Essays]2551 words
(7.3 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]
Essay on The Success of Blood Brothers on Stage - The Success of Blood Brothers on Stage Blood Brothers has been very successful on stage - write about some of the elements in the play that you think may have made the play so popular. The musical blood brothers, written by Willy Russell, is a very popular and demanding play of the modern ages....   [tags: Blood Brothers Essays]2416 words
(6.9 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]
Essay Blood Brothers, by Willy Russell - Blood Brothers The class was divided into 3 groups of four for this unit. In my group, I had Chris Adelaide, Jimmy Gevaux and Micky Collins. We were supposed to encrypt a piece of the Blood Brothers, to act on. We were all given a chance to pick the character, we want to be throughout the play; so, I chose Mrs Johnstone to show a diversity of character. Gingerbread of Mrs. Johnstone Mrs Johnstone is struggling to bring up her rowdy kids. With her husband long gone, and not enough money to pay the milkman, she takes up a cleaning job at the Lyons' posh household to make ends meet....   [tags: Blood Brothers Essays]529 words
(1.5 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]
Blood Brothers, by Willy Russell Essay - Blood Brothers The play ‘Blood Brothers’ was written by playwrite Willy Russell in the 1980’s, which is also when it is set. It is based in and around Liverpool and follows the lives of twin brothers who are separated at birth and live apart, oblivious to each other’s existence. Micky stays with his mother (Mrs Johnstone) who cannot afford to have two more mouths to feed and (Mrs Johnstone) sells her other son Eddie to a rich couple who are unable to have children. They meet up again and become best friends growing up together....   [tags: Blood Brothers Essays]1737 words
(5 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]
Blood Brothers, by Willy Russell Essay - Blood Brothers Essay Does Willy Russell want the audience to blame Mrs Johnstone in the scene where she agrees to give one of her children away. What dramatic and language techniques does Willy Russell use to influence the audiences emotions. Blood brothers is a musical set in the 1970’s. Mrs Johnstone has 7 children and is expecting twins but she can not afford to look after them both and she is pressured into giving one away to Mrs Lyons. They swear on the bible but at first Mrs Johnstone is a bit hesitant because she doesn’t actually want to give one away....   [tags: Blood Brothers Essays]433 words
(1.2 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]
Elias Chocour's Blood Brothers Essays - Elias Chocour's Blood Brothers Elias Chocour’s novel, Blood Brothers, represents his point of view on the contemporary Palestinian position regarding the holy land of Israel. The book traces the transformation of Chocour’s life, from a Melkite Christian Palestinian boy into a powerful spiritual leader and innovative agent in facilitating better race relations in the region. He shows how Palestinian’ needs were left out during the formation of the State of Israel, and how their plight is highly misunderstood, and often grossly distorted because of ignorance....   [tags: Chocour Blood Brothers Essays]706 words
(2 pages)
Better Essays[preview]

Johnstones fear of superstition to her advantage, as can be seen from
the following lines just before the song. "Mrs. Lyons:

They...they say that if either twin learns that he was one of a pair,
they shall both immediately die. It means Mrs. Johnstone that these
brothers shall grow up unaware of the others existence. They shall be
raised apart and never, ever told what was once the truth. You won't
tell anyone about this, Mrs. Johnstone, because if you do, you will
kill them."

Followed by the Narrator busting into song:

" Shoes upon the table

An' a spider's been killed.

A full moons shinin'

An' the salts been spilled.

You're walkin' on the pavement cracks

Don't know what's gonna come to pass."

All of these are bad omens foretelling what is to come.

There's also the theme of friendship, linked between Mickey, Eddie and
Linda and how they are all friends, but it gradually brakes apart,
Mickey and Linda's friendship develops into love, and Mickey and
Eddie's friendship firstly breaks up when Eddie is forced to move away
by his parents, then again later in the play when Mickey becomes
depressed he begins to become jealous of Eddie, again leading up to
the tragic consequences. Hate then becomes part of the play, as Mrs
Lyons comes to despise Mrs Johnstone because of the situation both
women are in with the twins.

Violence features heavily in the play. The most notable example of
physical conflict is when Mickey shoots Eddie. The audience are
reminded of the superstition that the brothers would die if they were
to find out they were in fact twins. This builds dramatic tension and
then this tension dies away after the climax of the shooting. The
verbal conflict in the play takes place mainly between the female
characters. A striking example is when Mrs. Lyons goes in to Mrs.
Johnston house and they argue. The sentences are short - "Don't lie!"
for example in order to create a build up of tension. This tension is
released when Mrs. Lyons attempts to stab Mrs. Johnston. The theme of
violence is present from the start of the play, although is more
subtle at the begging, for example when the children are playing
games, their song depicting several deaths, but at the end of each
one, the audience is reminded of the children's innocence and that
they are just playing, by the repetition of the verse

"But you know that if you're cross your fingers,

And if you count from one to ten,

You can get up off the ground again,

It doesn't matter the whole thing's just a game."

Mrs Johnstone is fulfilled with the theme of guilt through out most of
the play because of giving her son Edward away to Mrs Lyons, but also
Mrs Lyons feels guilt because she has lied to everyone about Edward
being her own son, she lied to her husband, friends, family and even
Edward himself. Mickey also becomes to feeling guilt because he is so
depressed he cannot support himself or his family (Linda and their
child) and he has to rely on Linda and Mrs Johnstone to actually
support him.

The Narrator in Blood Brothers is used in many ways, his main role is
to be a foreboding figure or a "voice of fate", Warning as time gets
closer to the ending Tragedy a good example of this is in one of his
songs, he warns that the time of Eddie and Mickey's death is getting
close by singing:

"Yes, y' know the devil's got your number

He's gonna find y'

Y' know he's right behind y',

He's standin' on your step

And he's knocking at your door.

He's knocking at your door,

He's knocking at your door"

This is added to by the use of superstitions about bad luck in each of
his speeches, for example his listing of many superstitions quoted
earlier in this essay..

As the story progresses the Narrators Speeches are gradually getting
more serious as time goes on, until right before the shooting when he
is literally shouting out trying to warn them. This is Probably the
reason that the Narrator is usually presented as quite a shady
character, who is telling the story through someone else's eyes other
than the people involved giving us a better idea of what's going on,
from the view of someone there, and someone who is not biased at all.
This is much better as the viewer can relate to what the Narrator is
seeing; yet he adds much more to the overall suspense and excitement.

The Narrator also plays a important part in keeping the story flowing,
because he acts as a vital of link between each part of the play, this
means that he can give hints about the next scene and act without
anything being preformed, this results in the audience being more
entertained by the suspense even though nothing important or exiting
may be happening at that time in the play.

0 thoughts on “Themes In Blood Brothers Essay”


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *