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Russell: Blood Brothers

4. Superstition

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About this Lecture

Lecture

In this module, we think about the role of superstition in the play, focusing in particular on: (i) the extent to which superstition is a feature of everyday life, even if it isn't 'real' in a metaphysical sense; (ii) the long literary and cultural heritage of superstition, from the witches in Macbeth (1606) to Aristophanes' Birds (414 BC); (iii) the extent to which the tragic events of the play are caused by superstition; and (iv) the extent to which superstition underlines the fact that we know the two brothers are going to die at the end of the play.

Course

In this course, Professor John McRae (University of Nottingham) explores Willy Russell's Blood Brothers. The first six modules serve as an introduction to play, exploring the play's historical context, the extent to which it is a 'Brechtian' play, the fact that we are told in the very first scene what will happen at the end, and the themes of superstition, nature and nurture, and destiny and fate. In the following nine modules, we go through the play scene by scene, providing close reading and detailed analysis, with commentary on character, plot, themes, language, symbolism, and more.

Note: We use the Methuen Drama version of the play (ed. Jim Mulligan). Students using a different version of the play may encounter slight differences in the page numbers.

Lecturer

John McRae is Special Professor of Language in Literature Studies and Teaching Associate in the School of English at Nottingham University, and holds Visiting Professorships in China, Malaysia, Spain and the USA. He is co-author of The Routledge History of Literature in English with Ron Carter, and also wrote The Language of Poetry, Literature with a Small 'l' and the first critical edition of Teleny by Oscar Wilde and others.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

McRae, J. (2022, January 29). Russell: Blood Brothers - Superstition [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://massolit.io/courses/russell-blood-brothers/superstition

MLA style

McRae, J. "Russell: Blood Brothers – Superstition." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 29 Jan 2022, https://massolit.io/courses/russell-blood-brothers/superstition

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