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Equus Through the character of Dysart, the play questions the ultimate use of psychiatry.

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Introduction

Equus Through the character of Dysart, the play questions the ultimate use of psychiatry. In the play Equus1, Peter Shaffer has used an essential element of what he believes is 'a common preoccupation with worship and man's attempts to acquire or murder a special divinity''2. Through several characters and the described events in the play, Shaffer tries to create a 'mental world'3 in which a horrific deed is portrayed and one man's reaction to it. One of the main characters in Equus is Martin Dysart, a psychiatrist who is going through a difficult time, trying to figure out what he is actually achieving in treating his patients. Monologues and conversations with Hesther Salomon, a friend of the main character, are used to portray the psychological development of Dysart. And through the character, Dysart, the play questions the purposes and value of psychiatry. Dysart is a respected psychiatrist who has been asked to take Alan Strang as his patient. Alan has committed a crime which no one, apart from Dysart, would be able to help him process and overcome. ...read more.

Middle

He takes away their passion. Alan Strang, Dysart's patient who blinded six horses in one night, can be seen as both emotionally and mentally disturbed. He worshiped horses as if they were gods, more specifically he saw all horses as if they were one and the same horse; Equus. 'Does he live in all horses or just some?/ All'8. He believed that Equus could see all, just like God. Alan felt that having sex with Jill was seen as a sin to his god, he was embarrassed to realize that Equus had seen this. As he asks for forgiveness he realizes that Equus would see everything, everywhere, what-ever he is doing, forever. 'God seest!/ No more, Equus'9. However as we can read what Alan has been through and the difficulties he had to face, we do not read his thoughts but we do see him changing throughout the play. In the beginning of the play, Alan would always sing songs, but at some point he stops doing so and opens up to Dysart. And although he still fights Dysart, and his emotions, he talks more about himself. ...read more.

Conclusion

Firstly the image of 'normal' created by the society in the play is questioned by Dysart's dream. In the play individuality has no place in society, as this cannot be comprehended. Alan Strang is used to portray the image of people who do not fit in with society's morals. To change patients as Alan, Dysart takes away their passion, something he envies them for as he has none. Finally, Shaffer uses the ignorance in which mental problems are solved to criticize psychiatry. As Dysart does not fully understand what is going through his patients' heads and feels like he is standing in the dark, fixing what he can see. Through all these aspects, Shaffer has succeeded to show the imperfections of psychiatry. 1 Peter Shaffer, Equus, Longman Group UK Limited 1993, 2009 2 P. v, Equus, Peter Shaffer, Longman Group UK Limited 1993, 2009 3 P. vi, Equus, Shaffer 4 P. 2, Equus, Shaffer 5 P. 8, Equus, Shaffer 6 P. 3, Equus, Shaffer 7 P. 8, Equus, Shaffer 8 P. 51, Equus, Shaffer 9 P. 90, Equus, Shaffer 10 P. 67, Equus, Shaffer 11 P. 93, Equus, Shaffer 12 P. 49, Equus, Shaffer ?? ?? ?? ?? Sara Waldorf English A1 SL DP2 ...read more.

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