Equus begins to "mock" Alan to the point that the boy is in both physical and mental distress at the idea that he has failed his god. At the very climax of the scene, Alan retaliates to Equus's taunts by stabbing out the eyes of each horse. Following this, Alan is immediately seized with Latifi 4
guilt, "yelling in hysteria as he collapses on the ground—stabbing at his own eyes with the invisible pick" (106) and begging Equus to "find" him and "kill" him. The scene ends, Dysart soothing Alan with the promise of "no more bad dreams [or] awful nights" (107). This scene also demonstrates the power Equus now assumes over Dysart. When Alan falls asleep, Dysart says that Equus "won't really go that easily," suggesting that Alan's account moved Dysart so much that the psychiatrist himself can no longer deny the powerful effects of the passion of Equus. In freeing Alan from the power of Equus, Dysart surrenders himself in exchange for the boy's peace of mind. Equus is a play that challenges conventional views of religion, suggesting that passion is what drives people to behave the way they do within a system of beliefs. Shaffer successfully redefines religious fanaticism and forces the reader to consider that while the practices of religion itself may come across as questionable or even ridiculous, it is the passion behind the practice that drives those who follow it. Shaffer suggests that a life that lacks passion is banal, and Dysart's metamorphosis effectively illustrates this idea. Alan initially comes across as borderline psychopath, but as Dysart discovers, there is more to the story than what is immediately understood by Alan's parents. Shaffer suggests that religion, at its very root, is grounded in an innate human desire to be passionate about something other than just oneself. He transforms Dysart from a psychiatrist leading an "average" life to a friend who sacrifices himself so that Alan can live free of guilt. Alan finds refuge in Equus based on the fact he has nothing else to live for at that point in his life, and when Equus overpowers Alan, Alan retaliates the only way he knows how. Shaffer demonstrates through this that acts of passion should be explored rather than feared, and when Dysart surrenders himself to Equus on Alan's behalf, he is truly able to experience what it means to make a decision that extends beyond oneself. Latifi 5
Works Cited Shaffer, Peter. Equus . Penguin Books, 2006. Latifi 6
You've reached the end of your free preview.
Want to read all 6 pages?