Blood Brothers - Sample Essay

The narrator’s role in ‘Blood Brothers’ is quite unusual. The convention of the narrator in most plays is such that they are usually brought on to introduce the next part of the play and then move offstage and the play continues. However, in Blood Brothers the narrator is a physical character and is on stage all of the time. At the beginning of the play the narrator says, “So did y’ hear the story of the Johnstone twins? ” This indicates that he is the storyteller. His presence at every scene thereafter shows that he is telling us about that part of the story.

The narrator is on stage all the time, watching the characters and often lurking in the background, and this makes him seem a sinister and threatening character, which contrasts with other plays where the narrator is usually neutral. Also, as the narrator already knows the end of the story and is telling it back to the audience he can also suggest what is going to happen in the future which has a disquieting effect. Although the narrator knows what is eventually going to happen he doesn’t try and prevent it in any way and even seems to be pushing the characters into performing their actions.

The narrator speaks in rhyming couplets, which is akin to the supernatural characters used by Shakespeare; this would link with his prophetic knowledge and his cold presence around characters. There is a point in the play where the narrator takes Mrs Lyons coat off her and hangs it up. This makes him seem as if he is coaxing her on her path and gives the impression of his being malicious. Although the other characters do not see the narrator it certainly seems as if they can feel his presence. They appear to be tense and nervous when he is around and can possibly, albeit subconsciously, understand what he is saying.

For instance, during the first act when Mrs Johnstone has taken the money off Mrs Lyons and went back to her house the narrator sings the song ‘The devils got your number’. The song concludes with, “And he’s knocking at your door. He’s knocking at your door. He’s knocking at your door. ” During the song Mrs Johnstone has returned to her house and locked herself in. Mickey is knocking at the door and Mrs Johnstone not knowing that it is her own son screams out, in terror, “Go away! ” This suggests that she knew what the narrator was saying and could sense his presence.