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The Play Review: Equus by Peter Shaffer

3 pages
606 words
University of California, Santa Barbara
Type of paper: 
Case study
This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

The movie Equus by Peter Shaffer tries to depict psychological concept and abnormal personality by beginning the play with a seventeen-year-old boy Alan Strang who is the main character in the play standing in the field embracing a horse by the name Nugget. Alan and Nugget are described as couples from the way they were hugging each other tightly. In the play, Alan states that he feels like a horse and he is wondering what is going on I the horse mind. According to Alan if it is difficult to read the horse mind then he was wondering why he should interact with other children whose mind was complicated. When court magistrate Hesther Salomon visited Dysarts office, they discussed a seventeen-year-old boy who was caught blindfolding six horses with a metal spike. When the boy was taken to court instead of answering questions to defend himself, he ended up singing, this portrayed abnormal personality in a human being and the boy needed to be taken for treatment in a mental hospital. When Alan was finally taken to a mental hospital, whenever Dysart asked him questions he could only sing an advertising song for a particular product. Dysart tried very hard to make Alan answer questions, but he failed to persuade him. Dysart is wondering how a person can attain Alans personality and become the person he was with a lot of abnormalities. Alans personality disturbed those around him and especially his mother Dora who had a bad relationship with her son and how she was suffering because she was straining to relate to his son.

In this play, Shaffer tries to depict dysfunction description by showing how Alan strang, a young boy who was the only child in their family led a lonely life. He had an unusual and psychological issue which was as a result of impotence with the uncontrolled emotion, and he was full of hatred, and he could cope with anyone, and he did not have friends, rather he led a mysterious life where his closest friends were horses. He had strong physical and emotional attachment to the horses, and he spent most of his time with the horses. In some scenario, he is trying to blind fold the horses.Sex in the play is illustrated as a religious experience, showing that people needed to worship even sex. Alan realized that all men must be contented with their sexuality and this made Alan reflect about his parents relationship and despised his father who was struggling with his sexual desires and depicted that sex life incline towards men angle. Alans dysfunction is portrayed when he could not have an erection and have sex with Jill. Alans conversation with Dysart shows that horse was a real sexual obsession for Alan.

The assessment dysfunction is depicted when Jill is attracted to Alan, and she wants him to be his friend though Alan was ashamed to discuss sex with Jill because of his failure to be normal and he could not accept Jills kindness. Alan was very embarrassed discussing the sexual issue. From the scene, it is shown that Equus was the object of Alans sexuality to worship and he always threatened to punish Alan for being unfaithful.

At the end of the play, Dysart is disappointed with his job as a psychiatrist since his work since he tried to get information from Alan by enticing him and he tried to guide him on what he should think.



Lumet, S., Shaffer, P., Shaffer, P., Burton, R., Firth, P. and Blakely, C. (2017). Equus (1977). [online] IMDb. Available at: [Accessed 18 Nov. 2017].


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