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Discussing Martin Dysart.

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Introduction

Dysart's situation compared to Alan reverses throughout the play. He begins as a laid back character but as he meets Alan, who is full of worship and passion, his situation becomes desperate. Dysart's problem in the play is that he does not know what positive effect psychiatry is doing to his patients. The conflicted argument with Hesther over "the normal" makes Dysart not treat Alan but eventually he is forced to do so. Dysart wants a free life with passion and a sociable wife whom he can take to Greece where he can then worship and savour his life. Dysart sees something in Alan he has never seen before. He looks up to Alan constantly admitting his jealousy of the young adolescent. Shaffer's play is one that questions drama containing traditional values. The pre 1967 drama in theatres lacked excitement and thrill whereas post 1967 theatrical drama challenged the usual tedious socialistic society. It completely reshaped the way theatre was portrayed. The abolition of Lord Chamberlain's series of laws came as a relief to playwrights as previously unknown and colloquial language was used. Shaffer incorporates this into his play along with sexual, open language as: "fucking swiz." Alan is also shown "with one particular horse, called Nugget, he embraces." Shaffer also shows the clash in sexuality and religion when Alan and his father meet in a pornographic movie: Alan being with his girlfriend. This so called "New Wave" theatre smashed through known barriers and freely challenged political and social views. Shaffer's use of revolutionary iconoclastic movement prevents his basic conventions of society from being upheld. Theatre sets were also changing simultaneous to plays. They became more realistic offering more dynamism. They also changed the context of plays through new presentation and setting styles. The new spacious stages with sets offering walking circles for the actors (such as Dysart uses on stage to walk around) ...read more.

Middle

Dysart tells the audience next of how Alan "lives one hour in three weeks-howling in a mist." He image this gives is one of pain and mystery. There is a lycanthropic sense: a werewolf painfully howling in the moonlight of a black and white film noir. Dysart commonly uses paradoxical language throughout the play. On describing the patient he is waiting for, Dysart is diffident and bored out of his wits. He waits for "the usual unusual" patient. Although it seems absurd, we can see how unique Alan is and so the truth can be seen. Dysart then builds a list of what Alan has and has not got. The short repetitive sentences beginning "no or "not" are effective for dramatic, rhetorical and intense use on stage. Again, Dysart uses paradox to describe Alan. He describes him as "a modern citizen for whom society doesn't exist." Dysart is showing his feelings about the conflicted process of treatment he is carrying out on Alan. It can be seen that Dysart has an intimate relationship with Alan forming passion and worship for the boy. It could be even seen as if Dysart wants the boy to be his. He wants the boy to be free of his conflicted parents and may want to keep him to gain transcendence. Alan's problems mostly revolve around his parents. His father sees himself as a new, rational and socialistic man. According to Dysart, he is "relentlessly self-improving" and possesses no religious feelings. Alan retaliates to his father's rule of banning television by refusing to read any books. Alan's mother though, is gentle and religious. Mr Strang calls the situation in his house as awful: "Bloody religion-it's our only real problem in this house." Shaffer also builds in alliteration and onomatopoeia throughout the play. Dysart uses these to intensify and dramatise the play on stage. Words such as "finicky" and "critical" give assonance of the letter 'I' and alliteration of 'c'. These sounds reinforce the brittleness and desiccation of the situation. ...read more.

Conclusion

This gives a dramatic impact as well as a mysterious setting. The sudden light stands out in the audience. This is typical of a film noir and justifies Dysart's role as an investigator piecing together the crime scene on stage. There are also a lot of pauses throughout the play before any important speech. These pauses increase the tension and suspense. To thoroughly make his point, Dysart uses a lot of monologues and recalls of metaphors. They bring repetitive lines and constantly take the audience back to previous, important scenes such as the nightmare. The stage is also important to the play due to numerous occassions when Dysart comes forth and "storms" at the audience: "he steps out of the square and walks round the upstage end of it, storming at the audience." This line is metaphoric of Dysart stepping out of his job and leaves to confront his troubles. The passionate and fierce way in which Dysart talks to the audience brings depth and meaning to the play; letting the audience enjoy and join in. The blackout at the end of the play brings back memories of the dark moments in the play when Dysart meets Equus. It brings relief to the audience fior Dysart and for Alan being cured. It is a signal for a new fresh start for both characters. The problem for Dysart is that there is no explanation for Equus. Being a psychiatrist Dysart wants to find out more and understand the concept of Alan's worship but it is ineffable. Dysart also feels people should be more open in their worship: "Look! Life is only comprehensible through a thousand local Gods." The choice he has to make in the play for Alan becomes Dyart's tragic conflict. Should he treat Alan into the usual unusual, normal boy: or should he let Alan keep his passion, worship and feelings to make him that unique individual Dysart dreams to be. Dysart cannot stand his job anymore and feels he has ruined enough patients' lives. This is why he leaves his job into a modern, synthetic world. Written by: Sohan Shah 10D ...read more.

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