Analysis Of Equus By Peter Shaffer

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In “Equus”, written by Peter Shaffer, each horse sports a bit that restrains him and hands total control over to his master. At night, chains encircle and bind the stables horses from wandering off into the wilderness. Day in and day out, they’re held back from the freedom that they so desperately desire; however, these metal shackles represent more than physical confinement; they amplify the literal meaning of the piece by being an ominous reflection of Dr. Dysart’s work as a therapist, they symbolize Alan’s powerlessness against his parents contrasting personal beliefs, and ultimately, they represent his own pent up credence. In one of the initial scenes of the play, Frank replaces a picture of Jesus, crucified on the cross, with a less…show more content…
Dysart, under the ‘truth pill’, Alan divulges information regarding his obsession and worship of Equus. Not only does his God clearly “seest” what he does at any given moment, but the 17-year-old boy understands the pain behind the horse’s glossy gaze; he understands what it feels like to be incarcerated within the dimensions of his body. At night, Alan goes out riding the horses, allowing them to roam free without their bit. The darkness and sense of sweet solitary cloaks him with a feeling of ease, and Alan’s metaphorical bit temporarily disappears.
With Equus, in addition to a physical relationship, there’s a spiritual link that connects the two and allows Alan to break free and unite along with the horse.
After Alan describes his fascination with the horse’s constraint, the doctor has a dream that challenges and summons a reevaluation of the remainder of the literary piece as a whole, and at the very core of it lies the bit. The horrors in his nightmare cause him to question his ‘normal’ life in comparison to Alan’s acute obsession. With Alan as his patient, he is faced with reality and the lack of substance in his life, which is augmented by Alan’s confessions. Unlike Alan, Dr. Dysart holds no passion for anything, and this forces him to reflect upon the entirety of the career he has built up for himself. Children are born unique, but societal prejudice limits their individuality. Dysart’s dream exposes his line of work, making him a
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