The Cause of Dysfunction in Sharon Pollock’s Blood Relations
by Sharon Pollock centers around the historical case of Lizzie Borden and the murder of her family. As the story of Lizzie’s life is told we see the dysfunction that exists in her family and possibly the motivations behind their murder. Lizzie's actions appear to be in self preservation after being pushed to the edge by these factors. The dysfunction within the Borden family is primarily caused by Lizzie’s stepmother, the farm’s poor financial status and Harry Wingate’s efforts to gain ownership of the farm.
Lizzie’s relationship with her stepmother is quite poor and it is clear that the two share a distaste for each other. The tension between the two primarily revolves around Mr. Borden’s money and who would inherit it. Mrs. Borden sees Lizzie as spoiled and wants her to marry a widower named Johnny Mcleod to prevent her from sharing in the inheritance. Lizzie is very against marrying Johnny but she has very little choice in the matter. Her stepmother consistently reminds Lizzie that she cannot hope to receive much of her father’s inheritance causing much of the dysfunction in the Borden family.
It is made clear to the audience that the Borden farm has come across tough financial times. Financial trouble is commonly known as a case of family dysfunction and the Borden’s are no exception. It puts all of the family in a difficult position and the all respond to it in different ways. Mr. Borden becomes more open to the offer from Harry Wingate to sign away ownership of his farm even though the deal may not be in his best interest. Lizzie does not want to see the farm leave the family’s ownership and makes several attempts to confront her father or change his mind but with little success. Her sister Emma is in denial of the farm’s
situation as she is about many things like Mr. Wingates foul intentions, Lizzie often tries to talk ...
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