The Narrator is then seen again in Act two. He comes on stage again to taunt Mrs Lyons as he sings, ‘Did you really think that you’d become secure That time had brushed away the past… ‘ The audience expectation that something very sinister is going to happen is reaffirmed. The Narrator draws the audience further into this web of lies and deceit as they yearn to know exactly how events unfold. It is very clear that the Narrator has a very powerful role in this play as he unnerves the cast members and grips the attention of the audience.
You will notice that I used the word ‘taunt’ and I feel this is what he does to Mrs Lyons. He wants to remind her of the past and how she will never be able to outrun it. I have to agree that there isn’t a positive side to his taunting and he can’t hide his dislike of her. On the Narrator’s next appearance he comments on the teenage friendship between Mickey and Edward and how they are,’ innocent, immortal, you’re just fifteen. ‘ He goes on to say, ‘and only if the three of them could stay like that forever…
‘ This time we see the different side of the Narrator, the side that I had mentioned before. His words are now on the humane side, he feels for these young people who will all endure great grief and heartache; this is why he says ‘and only if… ‘ He knows no one can stop time and Willy Russell uses him as a dramatic device to propel the plot forward as time is running out. He knows they are all victims and he does not blame them unlike the way he blames Mrs Johnstone and Mrs Lyons.
He doesn’t taunt them either; instead his tone is resigned and sad. Here we see the soft side of him; he doesn’t want fate to take its course, he wants them to live happily for the rest of their lives. Now the audience can see why he was so spiteful towards Mrs Johnstone and Mrs Lyons, he feels that because of what they did, their children have to suffer the repercussions. I can understand now why people see him as a figure of doom; it was because of his words.
But these words were his only way of making the two women pay for what they had done, and underneath it all I can see a person who is filled with sorrow, knowing that two boys would pay the price of death for the pact which their mothers made. The final words the Narrator utters onstage brings the play full circle, it ends as it began. Like the start of the play, he starts to ask the audience questions again, he says. ‘And do we blame superstition for what came to pass? Or could it be what we, the English, have come to know as class? ‘
It’s easy to see here how Willy Russell has presented the Narrator as a moral guardian, he forces his audience to reflect on what they have viewed, I think Willy Russell uses the Narrator to present his own challenging questions and thoughts to society. He believed that society needed to alter; equality and rational thought were needed. I think it’s very important to notice that the Narrator never has direct contact with the other characters when he is playing himself. There is only one exception to this case, when Mickey, Edward and Linda are at the beach and the Narrator is watching them.
Then all of a sudden Linda sees him and waves him over to take a photo of the three of them. In this instant he becomes involved in their lives; he shares their happiness even though he knows that it cannot last. It’s possible although it isn’t mentioned in the stage directions, that the Narrator isn’t playing himself and instead he is a stranger on the beach. I believe that he isn’t playing himself and instead he is a passerby. If this is the case, then I have a theory, which I know a lot of people wouldn’t agree with.
I think that it’s possible that the Narrator is never there. I mean that yes of course the audience can see him, but can the other characters see him when he is himself? I think he might only be the conscience of the characters, because they never interact with him and it’s true that after he has spoken that they are scared, but does he speak in their mind? Is he just their conscience or in other words their moral guardian? They both do the same job, they both disapprove of something wrong and this is why I definitely think the Narrator is a moral guardian or possibly an angel.
He didn’t approve of the pact which was made, he predicted it would bring pain and suffering and he was right. He did not feel pity for those who made the pact, but for those who suffered because of it. In my eyes he redeemed himself and I believe he was only trying to teach the characters a lesson, even though he knew he couldn’t prevent their fate. I think if you look behind the hard exterior you see someone who only wanted to show the characters the danger of their actions and their behaviour. He knew not to mess with fate.