Who/What is to blame for the deaths of Mickey Johnstone & Edward Lyons? Blood brothers is a musical about two young boys called Mickey and Eddie. The story tells the harsh lives of the two boys, their upbringing, childhood, teenage years and final day. Blood Brothers is a tragedy, so the audience must be aware that some characters are going to have to die! The play was written in 1980 by the author Willy Russel.
The play very accurately comments on the social, political and economical themes of the era and the play is directly related to some of the scenarios, as the author grew up during the great depression and the musical is mirrored to this as it is set in Liverpool during this time era in a contrasting area, the Rich and poor meet, innocence and experience battle and friendship is tested to the very limits. The play shows contrast and similarity, it shows class, society (and its failures), fate, Superstition, Childhood and adult hood (and it’s harsh, sometimes destructive ways)
And the very clear transition between the two, it shows friendship and family secrets and contrast of love and hate, violence and peace and of course the last theme guns and death. The context of the play is during the depression, a time where the 1st female prime minister is dividing the country in two. Separating the utilities and breaking up unions. Her ways made the rich much richer and the poor much poorer leaving a big division between the two, middle class had to either find a way of making more money or end up falling to poverty.
She also tried to take away free milk for primary school students (Margaret Thatcher, milk snatcher) as a means to spend less money but failed to save very much for the whole effort and very quickly become rather unpopular. And she was finally voted out when she privatised the whole English mining system and when private companies could not sustain the price they fell into debt and had to close down whole mines and this caused mass unemployment in sole mining villages such as Leeds as they had no way of making money apart from mining.
She also believed in no dole and that people should work no matter what state they are in. This no dole rule is directly related to Mrs. Johnstone and her earning no more money through child benefits. It all starts with one mother: Mrs. Johnstone, she has too many children, no benefits and a low paid job. Her job is to clean a large house run by an old women: Mrs. Lyons. Now Mrs Lyons is childless and sees that Mrs. Johnstone has too many children and two more on the way. And she decides to make her move, using education to scare Mrs.
Johnstone into giving up her own flesh and blood by means of superstition and ‘bad luck'(the more educated could obviously see that she is weaving tales). Mrs. Johnstone is manipulated into giving up one of he twin and then the older women manipulates her even further into never revealing the ‘secret’. She uses fear and superstition to scare Mrs. Johnstone, but what if Mrs. Johnstone was more educated, would she have fallen for it, would she have believed Mrs. Lyons, would the whole story have been told, or could it just be fate that the two boys were meant to split at this time?
Mrs. Johnstone is already giving in as she already doubts the children’s future and upbringing, she says (page 7)”They say I am incapable of controlling the kids I’ve already got: they say I should put some of them into care”. Mrs. Lyons plays on her fear by saying on page 8″your’e being threatened by the welfare people, Mrs Johnstone with two more children how can you possibly avoid some of them being put into care? “( Mrs Lyons is saying over all it’s better if I help as it’s either all the kids gone or just one).
her education is allowing her to twist Mrs Johnstone around her finger, remember that the richer are better and the poorer and worse off. So Mrs Johnstone, out of fear for her own children and herself, decides to give him away leaving the twins separated. Through the time of the play, people were suffering so much, Mrs, Johnstone probably would not have given up her child if there was not a depression on, whereas Mrs Lyons even offered money for the baby (maybe as a sort of bribe) as she was well endowed with money as she was rich and the rich became richer through the depression.
But more to the question, I believe Mrs Johnstone plays a big role in the killing, as she was the one who gave into giving her child away, she was so close to her children, but some fear and a manipulative old women made her give up her own flesh and blood, her own child. But was it just Mrs Lyons, well I do not think so, I think she just helped, I think I was mainly Mrs. Johnstone As she was obsessed with buying items from a catalogue, she even bought so much that she was “living on the never never” (p15) it was a conscious decision of Money vs.
Family, a normally tough decision but somehow she made it seem so easy, maybe a little too easy. She was completely in debt and all because she could not stop buying and couldn’t control herself and her control problem did not stop there. She found it hard to control her kids as in page 9 she say “I’m incapable of controlling the kids”. Her complete lack of control led to 1/2 of her twin being given away for a few measly pounds. Her lack of control led to Edward growing up different to Mickey, in a different class, in a different way, he may have been brought up to a better standard.