How Does Peter Shaffer Use Themes as Devices in Equus to Validate the Unpleasant.
It is difficult to suggest what the comfortable view of normal is as there are many different perceptions, which should be considered. In the beginning of ‘Equus’ one considers the character of Martin Dysart to be normal as he rarely strays outside of societies boundaries. However, as we move through the play one discovers there is much more to Martin Dysart than once thought. In reality the themes dealt with in ‘Equus’ challenges our own sense of what is normal. They are as equally as shocking to Dysart, yet made justifiable by Alan Strang’s worship for Equus, the god of horses. This is why ‘Peter Shaffer’ uses ‘Equus’ as a sort of device to standardize and make the strange acceptable. He does this by introducing a sense of innocence into
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He dreams of escaping his tedious life and explore the many layers of Ancient Greece. Yet this does not suit the comfortable view of what is normal and he can therefore not go. Shaffer also uses the play to explore one of humanities greatest tendencies, the inability to distinguish between religion and reality. Strang is lost in his worship for Equus and acts upon his every command. The idea of a religion based on a horse may seem ludicrous to many, yet it’s his actions, which replicate those of religious beliefs. Thus showing by introducing a religious element to the play he is again standardizing many of the themes not conventionally fitting the idealistic view of what is normal.
Individuality is essentially one’s greatest trait and by sacrificing in order to be normal is an injustice to humanity. Strang’s worship is the essence of his individuality and without it he is like Dysart. ‘But that boy has known a passion more ferocious than I have felt in any second of my life. And let me tell you something: I envy it’. Ironically the very trait that Dysart is lacking is dominant in the personality of Strang. Without uniqueness there is nothing to differentiate between each human being. Thus it could be argued that Alan Strang, although possessed by Equus, has a more human quality than Dysart. By this stage of play Dysart has gone under one of the greatest transformations of his life. He now