Blood Brothers Characters
by Willy Russell

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Blood Brothers Characters

The main characters in Blood Brothers are Mickey Johnstone, Edward Lyons, Mrs. Johnstone, and Mrs. Lyons.

  • Mickey Johnstone is Edward's twin and the youngest Johnstone sibling. As a child, he is gentle and kind, but as an adult, he is burdened by the pressures of poverty.
  • Edward Lyons is Mickey's twin and the only child of the Lyons family. He is eloquent and bright but clueless about the realities of poverty.
  • Mrs. Johnstone is the generous matriarch of the Johnstone family. She is caring but often gullible.
  • Mrs. Lyons is Edward's adoptive mother. She is caring but also cruel, manipulative, and controlling. 

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Characters

Mickey (Michael) Johnstone

Generous, shy, and upbeat as a child, Mickey is a study in the havoc poverty can wreak on a promising life. One of Mrs. Johnstone’s youngest twin sons, Mickey grows up impoverished with his six older siblings. Yet he is sociable and friendly, enjoying deep friendships with Linda and Edward. However, as he grows up, he transforms into a cynical, aggressive, and broken version of his former self. 

Weighed down by poverty, his life begins to lapse into a predestined template, as he first impregnates Linda as a teenager and then loses his factory job. Ultimately, Mickey is arrested for attempted murder, along with his brother Sammy. In prison, he becomes severely depressed and addicted to antidepressants. Perhaps his greatest loss is his friendship with Edward Lyons, which cracks under the class differences between the two. By the time Mickey learns Edward is his twin, his mind has already unraveled. He shoots Edward in a fit of jealousy over his affair with Linda. Mickey himself is shot down by the police soon after.

Edward (Eddie) Lyons

Described as “bright and forthcoming,” Edward Lyons is as generous-spirited as his twin, Mickey Johnstone. However, unlike Mickey, Edward, adopted by the wealthy Lyons family, grows up surrounded by every convenience and opportunity. His wealthy background ensures that Edward does not undergo the same hardening as Mickey, and he grows up to become a more open and eloquent man. One of Edward’s more endearing qualities is his lack of snobbishness. Not only is he eager to be “blood brothers” with Mickey, he also falls in love with Linda, who is also from a poorer background. 

However, his wealthy upbringing has had the downside of making him flippant towards the suffering of others. On learning about Mickey’s job loss, Edward asks him to stop worrying about such mundane matters and simply doff his hat at the system. This drives a wedge between the two best friends. Edward becomes a Councillor and eventually helps Mickey procure employment through Linda. Edward’s closeness with Linda provokes a jealous Mickey to kill him in a fit of rage.

Mrs. Johnstone

Mrs. Johnstone is the biological mother of Mickey Johnstone, Edward Lyons, and five other children, including Sammy and Donna Marie Johnstone. She is abandoned by her husband when she is pregnant with her youngest children Mickey and Edward. Mrs. Johnstone is a resilient, warm, and open-hearted woman. Though she lives a life of great poverty, she manages to stay in good humor for the sake of her children, with whom she enjoys a genial relationship. 

Mrs. Johnstone’s biggest flaws are her gullibility and her sometimes superficial nature. She often orders goods she cannot afford, thus staying in an endless cycle of debt. Mrs. Johnstone is forced to give up the infant Edward to Mrs. Lyons because of her poverty. Despite her love for Edward, she stays away from him to protect him, since Mrs. Lyons has planted the suspicion in her mind that Edward’s learning about his origins will be fatal for him and his twin Mickey. Thus, Mrs. Johnstone displays a generous, sacrificing nature. She survives the tragedy of Edward’s and Mickey’s deaths, revealing her innate resilience. Mrs. Johnstone’s moral courage also serves to illustrate the play’s theme that poverty may mar a person’s circumstances...

(The entire section is 1,312 words.)