Character Profile - Hesther
Frank arrives at Dysart's, the psychiatrist's office, and approaches Dysart by saying, “My wife The relationship between Alan and Equus is a very complex one. When Dysart has trouble coming to terms with 'curing' Alan Strang, Hesther is we feel for Dysart who appears to be trapped in a love-less relationship. Dysart's . Alan clearly has trouble forming normal relationships, as we can see in his Although Dysart's job as a psychiatrist is to make Alan better, we are left in some .
Surprisingly, he sees life as something in which people should be able to perceive beyond the surface and materialism of the modern society which has caused the downfall of passion and worship. He himself feels the need for going beyond the usual human knowledge and experience, into something perhaps more abstract and mystical.
Equus definitely expresses his conflict and need for the metaphysical and transcendence. Equus was a play that clearly questioned the old fashioned, traditional values of drama. The society of the s was a more conservative one; it was polite and respected many social issues that were banned such as sex and religion. Basic conventions in society were upheld; many people went about their own business without questioning much. The audience maintained well-bred drawing room language and concentrated well on the plays — no disrespect was shown.
Newer ones now watch it on television; the theatre plays little part in drama today. The styles and context of the plays are more iconoclastic and revolutionary; long established social mores were turned against. Theatres now had no shame in introducing explicit sexual content and obscene language. Equus as a post drama displays this quite often: Without a shadow of a doubt, Dysart feels that his job as a psychiatrist is damaging the individuality of so many.
Nothing seems to drive him any longer; his doubts have caused his boring and lifeless attitude towards what he does: For sure Dysart is reaching the point of existential crisis in his profession.
He seems to fundamentally question his work, he feels let down he cannot answer them. His acknowledgement to Hesther that his job is unfulfilling signals that Dysart is aware of, though cannot articulate, possibilities for life that go beyond the roles that modern society dictates. Shaffer asks his audience to focus less on why Alan himself is to blame for his crime, and to concentrate instead on the societal pressures that have led to this tragedy.
He returns to his bench on the right side of the circle. They both leave the square.
The characterisation of Alan Strang
Hesther returns to her bench, while Dysart walks around the stage, transitioning into the next scene. In this light, television and consumer culture can be seen as religions to which modern society subscribes.
Active Themes Scene 7. Martin Dysart visits the Strang home on a Sunday evening. Dora is still incredulous that Alan could do such a thing, especially since he loves horses. Dora tells Dysart that Alan has a photograph of a horse hung up in his bedroom, and that when he was a child, Dora would read him a story about a horse named Prince.
The horse in the story was so faithful that no one except his master could ride him. Dora also told Alan that when pagans in the New World first saw Europeans on horseback, they believed that the horse and its rider were one person, a strange deity. The fact that he had to hide this love from his father and watch Westerns in secret parallels the private rituals he develops in his own room.
Active Themes Frank returns home, and Dora resumes talking. Dysart asks the Strang parents how much Alan knows about sex. Dora replies that she told Alan that sex is not only a biological experience, but also a spiritual one.
She begins to cry.
Frank puts his arms around Dora and leads her back to their bench. This elitist attitude toward horses directly contrasts the raw and rugged cowboy culture depicted in the Westerns that Alan so loves.
There is silence as Alan and Dysart stare at each other.
The doctor then leaves and enters the square. Active Themes Scene 9. Dysart consents, but only if they both tell the truth. Meanwhile, Alan asks the doctor questions about his own dreams and his wife, which makes Dysart visibly uncomfortable.
Character Tracking – Alan
Dysart abruptly ends the session, which upsets Alan—he wants more time with the psychiatrist. Dysart, though, says that he will not engage with Alan until the boy begins to speak openly about his first memory of a horse.
At first Alan throws a tantrum, but as he realizes that Dysart will continue to ignore him, he calms down. The actors sitting upstage, forming a chorus, begin to hum the Equus Noise faintly as Alan begins to describe his memory.
Alan is clearly embarrassed by the fact that Dysart witnessed his nightmare the previous night. Everyone has private lives they wish to keep to themselves. Active Themes Scene As Alan describes this memory for Dysart, he walks around the circle and acts it out onstage.
He tells Dysart that he was six years old, and on a beach. A Horseman emerges onstage and gallops across the imaginary beach.
The Horseman charges toward Alan, who cries out. The rider swerves at the last second and apologizes for not noticing the boy. The man then offers to give Alan a ride. He lifts the boy onto the horse—the actor simulates this by lifting Alan onto his shoulders—and they ride together along the beach, faster and faster, until Frank and Dora realize what their son is doing. They yell at the Horseman to stop. As an atheist without a god to worship, does his father worship himself in a sense?
Shaffer makes it clear that the need for worship is strong, but worship can be just as detrimental as fulfilling. Should Dysart return Alan to normal, if normal in this case means being devoid of passion? When Alan comes to him, Dysart is going through a crisis of his own because he feels he lacks passion. It is also the dead stare of a million adults. It both sustains and kills- like a god. And let me tell you something: Shaffer sets up an ironic situation. Does a return to normalcy come at the cost of being devoid of passion?