Friday, May 7, 2010

Equus by Peter Shaffer

Every week by Saturday morning...
* Read 100 to 150 pages.

* Write 300+ words a week in response to your reading.
* Respond analytically and personally to what you have read.
* Discuss the significance of at least one passage/quotation.
* Discuss the relationship between what you are reading and something(s) else you have read this year.
* Respond to a comment made by a peer (after the first week).

1 comment:

Andrew Ryan said...

The play Equus by Peter Shaffer uses the motif eyes to represent power and control. The main character Alan is put into psychiatric care and has to talk to a psychiatric named Dysart, after he blinds six horses’ eyes. Alan blinds these animals, not for some sick amusement, but because he feels that he is being watched where ever he goes. Alan’s mother is strongly religious and because of this he believes that God is always watching over him. Alan becomes fixated by horses eyes because to him they appear as all-seeing based on how big and wide they are. Alan’s dad spots Alan worshiping to a picture of a horse at night and whipping himself. It can be concluded that Alan is abusing himself to resolve his sins since he feels God has seen him. Alan’s paranoia drives him to a state of insanity to which he can no longer be around people. He grudgingly decides to go on a date with a girl named Jill but his strong sense of being watched keeps him on edge. When the two go to a vulgar film, Alan’s paranoia seems justifiable when he sees that his dad is watching too. On page 92 Alan becomes scared when he sees his dad at the vulgar film, which is evident based on the conversation between Alan, Alan’s dad, and Jill, when Alan says, “All the men-staring up like they were in church. Like they were a sort of congregation. And then- (He sees his father.) Ah! Frank: Alan! Alan: God! Jill: What is it? Alan: Dad! Jill: Where? Alan: At the back! He saw me! Jill: You sure? Alan: Yes! Frank (calling): Alan!” Up until this moment Alan’s paranoia seems nonsensical, but once Alan sees his dad it makes sense why he would feel he’s being watched at all times. Already scared, Alan becomes even more paranoid when Jill wants to have sex and there are horses all around them. Feeling that he is being seen committing a sin, he chooses to blind the horses to escape the sight of God. This book relates to As I Lay Dying because Alan similar to Darl commits horrendous acts that only they themselves understand and can justify. Darl burns down the barn with his mother in it to get back at his dad for not loving Addie.