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The Play “Blood relation” by Sharon Pollock


Blood relation is an epic play that revolves around the life of Lizzy Borden. Lizzy is perceived to have killed her parents in an unpredictable maze of circumstances that Pollock (the playwright) explains were beyond her (Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia 2). This paper analyzes blood relations by responding to its plot.

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Concisely, this paper explains that the theme of parenthood is dominant in Blood Relation’s plot. Evidence to suggest that blood relation’s plot centered on the theme of parenting will, therefore, be shown as a possible justification for Lizzy’s actions.

Poor Parenting

Throughout the plot of blood relations, we see that there is a strong effort to explain the parental background surrounding the life of Lizzy Borden (Current 2). An explanation of the parental mistakes and experiences is an attempt to make the audience understand the background of Lizzy’s story.

Similarly, an explanation of the socio-economic and psychological factors surrounding Lizzy’s upbringing is an attempt to make the audience understand why Lizzy killed her parents. Ironically, this background narration is almost a replica of the social background and the circumstances facing most abused women around the world (Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia 2).

The plot of blood relations associates this social injustice with parental upbringing because there are numerous instances where Lizzy’s actions are backed by repeated episodes of parental injustice. For instance, the evidence is given extensive parental failures orchestrated by Lizzy’s parents when they lived with her. As a young girl, her stepmother and her father mistreated Lizzy.

Her father used to lock her up and beat her while her stepmother was not fair to her too. For example, Lizzy’s stepmother repetitively asked her to make tea while she did not know the best way to do it. She was scolded for this. Despite Lizzy’s efforts to please her stepmother, she remained cruel to her.

Lizzy’s father did not show compassion for her daughter either. Whenever Lizzy did a wrong thing, her father severely punishes her. For instance, her father decapitated the heads of Lizzy’s two pigeons because she did not listen to him (Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia 2). These instances are severe representations of parental failure.

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As the play’s plot progresses, Pollock uses Lizzy’s harsh parental background to suggest a possible justification for the murders. From a broader point of view, Pollock seems to suggest that, women and young girls were treated to harsh parental upbringing (during the civil rights era), which were partly facilitated by the harsh societal view regarding women (Pollock 3).

Lizzy is therefore portrayed as a brave girl who went against her parents by standing up for herself. Her actions were like a protest to cruel parenting. This fact is manifested through the murders that were specifically orchestrated on her parents.

Though the murders remained unsolved, they were directed at Lizzy’s parents to symbolize a protest to bad parenthood. Specifically, bad parenthood is highlighted as a possible cause for murder.


After analyzing blood relation’s plot, it is easy to point out that the play’s plot was not designed to highlight Lizzy’s story but rather, to highlight the parental injustices and the struggles of young girls in the society. This fact is supported by the fact that Lizzy was acquitted because she was a product of bad parenting.

Also, there was a strong emphasis on Lizzy’s upbringing to make the audience understand why Lizzy had to take action on her parents. This is not to mean that the murders were justifiable, but it is to show that bad parenting was at the center of the entire controversy.

Indeed, this representation is an effort to make the audience to search deep within them and question whether they would take the same actions that Lizzy did if they experienced the same parenting.

Works Cited

Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia. Blood Relations. 13 December. 2011. Web. 15 December. 2011. <>.

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Current, Wayne. The Blood Relations Review. 9 April. 2010. Web. 15 December. 2011. <>.

Pollock, Sharon. Blood Relations: Introduction. Nd. 2011. Web. 15 December. 2011. <>.

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StudyCorgi. (2020, October 3). The Play “Blood relation” by Sharon Pollock.

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"The Play “Blood relation” by Sharon Pollock." StudyCorgi, 3 Oct. 2020,

1. StudyCorgi. "The Play “Blood relation” by Sharon Pollock." October 3, 2020.


StudyCorgi. "The Play “Blood relation” by Sharon Pollock." October 3, 2020.


StudyCorgi. 2020. "The Play “Blood relation” by Sharon Pollock." October 3, 2020.


StudyCorgi. (2020) 'The Play “Blood relation” by Sharon Pollock'. 3 October.

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