The Three Main Themes of Willy Russell's "Blood Brothers"

Topics: IronyTragedy

The following sample essay on The three main themes of Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers are superstition, fate and class divides. These themes are overtly represented throughout the play. Because the play opens with a scene of the two dead boys there is a constant dramatic irony to all actions in the play; this inevitable tragedy undermines all the happiness in an ironic way. Near the start of the play, the deaths are only suggestions in the boys’ futures, but as the play develops the themes become more evident, eventually Summer Song is the turning point, the point of “no return”, the point where everything is “as good as it gets.

” Russell gives the play a very clear and simple structure. The audience knows they are to sympathise with Mrs Johnstone. Not only is she a single mother, she is poor and working class too. Her character is the most developed and given more stage time and songs.

Foreshadowing is a very important component of the play’s structure.

During the children’s game with toy guns, Mickey says, “I don’t want to die. ” He is subconsciously appealing to the devil to change his fate. We begin to pity Mickey because he is so defenceless and weak. The narrator creates tension and a feeling of inevitability by using phrases such as “he’s gonna find y'” He is often depicted as Fate, appearing before and after important events, sometimes during, as if to pinpoint the moment, such as when Mrs Johnstone must swear on the bible that she will give away her baby.

Get quality help now
Prof. Finch

Proficient in: Irony

4.7 (346)

“ This writer never make an mistake for me always deliver long before due date. Am telling you man this writer is absolutely the best. ”

+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

His snide and often ironic comments about the mothers are generally ambiguous and could apply to either mother (“An’ did y’ never hear of the mother so cruel”. ) The audience is told to come to their own decisions about the mothers (“come judge for yourselves”. ) The narrator creates tension, always hovering in the background, almost omnipresent, even wearing funeral clothes. He is like a vulture circling above the twins, waiting for their inevitable deaths. His constant presence on stage and in the script keeps the ominous tones going.

As they get older, he appears more often, worrying and reminding you that the twin’s death is coming closer. The Summer Song is when the boys pass the middle of their lives, the peak of the mountain, and begin to accelerate downwards with an unstoppable chain of events leading to their certain deaths. The boys envy each other, “I wish I was a bit like… That guy”, and events occurring to either of them are usually echoed or mirrored by the other. As children, Mickey is seen as the lucky one in the game of life, while Edward seems destined to watch from the sidelines.

However, after the Summer Song, once the boys are adults, there is no time for laughter, the game has ended, and Mickey can no longer play and must now work. Edward’s lifestyle becomes the ideal, which angers Mickey. Blood Brothers is structured like a Greek tragedy, using death as a spectacle, one main plot and a sad ending. It has a clear time frame, songs and music and, most importantly, a tragic hero (Mickey), someone who falls from grace due to their “tragic flaw”.

Most events are mirrored, for example the children’s game with toy guns(I shot y’), to Sammy’s air rifle(he produces an air rifle), to the gun at the fair, to the gun Sammy uses to shoot someone(an explosion from the gun), to the gun Mickey kills Edward with (the gun explodes and blows Edward apart). Before the Summer Song the guns are either imaginary or toys, safe and harmless. However, afterwards, they are still used as freely as the pretend guns, but take real lives. References to Marilyn Monroe are constant. “Like bright young things, like Marilyn Monroe. ” “Dreams all night of girls that look like Marilyn Monroe.

” In the first song (Marilyn Monroe) Marilyn Monroe is a symbol of youth and beauty, but throughout she changes into one of tragedy, referring to her drug taking and consequential death, which coincides with Mickey’s addiction to his anti-depressants. “Sexier than Marilyn Monroe” to “off the rails”, “treats his ills with daily pills”, “he was dead, Like Marilyn Monroe” The children’s game is echoed after the Summer Song. In the first half “I got y’, I shot y’, An’ y’ bloody know I did,” And in the second, “You shot him, you shot him. ” “I know I bloody did. ” This is a conversation between Mickey and Sammy, his older brother.

Cite this page

The Three Main Themes of Willy Russell's "Blood Brothers". (2017, Sep 19). Retrieved from

Let’s chat?  We're online 24/7