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Drama Coursework-Blood Brothers Willy Russell - Examine the roles of the female characters.

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Drama Coursework-Blood Brothers Willy Russell Examine the roles of the female characters. In Willy Russell's blood brothers the strong characters are the women, Mrs Lyons, Mrs Johnstone and Linda; they all play important roles, whereas the weak characters such as Mr Lyons and the absent Mr Johnstone are males. The play opens with the lines, "Tell me it's not true, Say it's just a story" This is sung in a mournful tone to emphasise its tragic meaning. This instantly tells the audience that the play has a tragic ending and that Mrs Johnstone wants to deny that the tragedy has happened; it is as if she is looking to the audience to justify the ending and the deaths of her sons. The narrator then goes on to give a brief version of the story, starting with the lines, "Did you ever hear the tale of the Johnston twins?" A prologue that gives a brief version of the story is similar to the one in Romeo and Juliet and also the way that the play begins with the final scene is similar to the beginnings of Greek tragedies. Wily Russell is using classic element of tragedy from literature and bringing them together in a modern way. The first impression that we get of Mrs Johnstone is that she is a "mother so cruel" who gave her baby away and has "a ...read more.


This is one of the examples of superstition, a strong theme that runs throughout the play. Other contrasts between Mrs Lyons and Mrs Johnstone are that Mrs Johnstone is forced to work while Mrs Lyons only job is that of housewife and she employs a cleaner to do the housework for her, which poses the question 'what does she do with all her time?' she goes shopping. Mrs Lyons has great power over Mrs Johnstone's life, as she is able to fire her at any time "I think that it would be better if you left" While Mrs Johnstone is powerless. This is ironic because as the play progresses Mrs Lyons becomes paranoid and mentally unstable "Up on the hill there's a woman gone mad" While Mrs Johnstone, despite being poor and working class remains mentally sound and strong. Mrs Lyons' paranoia is strong enough to drive her to use a "lethal looking kitchen knife" to try and stab Mrs Johnstone. I think that one of the reasons that the tragedy occurs is superstition and fate, which are some of the powerful driving forces behind the movement of the plot. An example of this is the 'coincidental' re-housing of Mrs Johnstone to the same village as Mrs Lyons moved to in order to get away from her, a coincidental event that meant that the tragedy was able to occur. ...read more.


This is an important feature because it means that the audience will appreciate that even after the greatest tragedy hope lives on. Overall, Willy Russell made the women characters strong, powerful, determined and in Mrs Lyons' case, manipulative compared to the males who were weak (not physically but mentally) gullible na�ve and immature. This is very similar to another of Willy Russell's plays, Shirley Valentine. I think that the women characters are made stronger as a reflection on Willy Russell's childhood, where he had a very strong matriarchal figure, represented by Mrs Johnstone and an absent father figure, represented by Mr Johnstone. Another thing I saw was that although Mrs Lyons was rich and middle class she is a much crueller and more manipulative than the poorer, working class people. This shows that being a higher class does not make you a better person and is included because Willy Russell had a working class background. Willy Russell uses ideas from literature such as Shakespeare and from Greek tragedy, he also manipulates the plot using ironic twists, such as the fact that Mrs Lyons told Mickey about eddy and Linda's relationship and that in turn led to her son's death. In some ways these ironies add to the tragedy. On the other hand, it is Mrs Johnstone who suffers the most after the tragedy which is slightly fitting, as she is arguably the best at coping through adversity and tragedy. 1726 Words ...read more.

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