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Portrayal of Religion in Peter Shaffer’s Equus Essay

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Some characters in Equus, however, are without religious figures to
worship. In the place of a religious figure, they turn to substitutions.
Specifically, Alan describes the skin flick viewers as “a congregation.”
Alan’s father continuously strives for self-improvement. As an atheist
without a god to worship, does his father worship himself in a sense?
Shaffer makes it clear that the need for worship is strong, but worship
can be just as detrimental as fulfilling.

free term paper, essay and book report

Essay on Religion And Its Role In EquusEquus - 662 Words

At the same time society says we should follow a religion, so this may well mean that Alan’s ritual was part of his religion.

The photograph of the horse that Alan received from his father took the place of a religious painting in Alan's bedroom, which was the first sign that horses held some kind of religious significance in his mind. The story Frank told about the religious chanting in his bedroom at age eleven confirmed this, and it was in this moment that Equus was officially "born" as a Christlike figure. Finally, Equus is in chains, bound as Jesus was on the cross, suffering as a result of humanity's sins.

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Analysis of the Play Equus Essay Example for Free

Equus: Shaffer, Nietzsche, and the Neuroses of Health DOYLE W. WALLS Are there perhaps - a question for psychiatrists - neuroses of health? ofthe youth and youthfulness of a people? Friedrich Nietzsche, "Attempt at a Self-Criticism," his preface to the 1886 edition of The Birth ofTragedi Nietzsche wrote The Birth ofTragedy not only to discuss the origin of tragic drama in Greece, but also to elucidate a fonn of madness, the madness of limited vision in the Gennan culture of his day: Our whole modem world is entangled in the net ofAlexandrian culture. It proposes as its ideal the theoretical man equipped with the greatest forces ofknowledge, and laboring in the service of science, whose archetype and progenitor is Socrates. All our educational methods originally have this ideal in view: every other form of existence must struggle on laboriously beside it, as something tolerated, but not intended. (p. 110) Peter Shaffer, like Nietzsche, is a student of psychology as well as culture, and he is very much interested in the idea of madness, certainly not in praising it as one critic has suggested2 ..,.. but rather in illustrating dramatically a particular strain of madness: the madness personified in Equus by the psychiatrist Martin Dysart. Everyone familiar with Equus understands that Alan Strang is mad. The challenge ofthe play - to those among us who are "nonnal" and "sane" - is to see what may be our own madness, a modem malady which has become so commonplace that we may fail to recognize it. Speaking of Equus, Shaffer made the following comments: There is in me a continuous tension between what I suppose I could loosely call the Apollonian and the Dionysiac sides of interpretinglife, between, say, Dysart and Alan Strang. Equus: Shaffer, Nietzsche, Neuroses of Health It immediately begins to sound high falutin' , when one talks about it oneself - I don't really see it in those dry intellectual terms. I just feel in myself that there is a constant debate going on between the violence of instinct on the one hand and the desire in my mind for order and restraint. Between the secular side of me the fact that I have never actually been able to buy anything of official religion - and the inescapable fact that to me a life without a sense of the divine is perfectly meaningless.3 The reading offered in this essay will run the risk of sounding "high falutin'" when it proceeds from a strict, rather than loose, definition of "those dry intellectual terms" Apollinian and Dionysian as they are used by Nietzsche in The Birth o/Tragedy.4 And because the terms will be used in the Nietzschean sense, this reading will take the liberty of departing from the idea that Dysart schematically represents the Apollinian and Alan the Dionysian. Although Shaffer uses the terms "Apollonian" and "Dionysiac," he admits to using them "loosely." Consequently, Shaffer's remarks are too tenuous to prove a direct influence of Nietzsche's The Birth 0/ Tragedy on Equus. However, the affinities between these two works do exist, and The Birth o/Tragedy can be used to provide a framework for an approach to Equus which will illustrate a concern common to both men: health. The structural tension within Equus is not the tension between Apollinian and Dionysian forces as some critics have proposed, at least not as those terms are used by Nietzsche. In fact, such an understanding ofthe nature oftragedy as Nietzsche defined it, according to Michael Hinden, is faulty: "It is a common misunderstanding that Nietzsche's concept of tragic tension depends upon a conflict between Dionysus and Apollo, but his basic tenet is that in tragedy a Dionysian conflict (that is to say, a conflict peculiar to the Dionysian state) is rendered visible by Apollinian form."5 In The Birth of Tragedy, Nietzsche provides a critique of what he believed to be the unhealthy German culture of his day; he writes of a "new opposition": the Dionysian vs. the Socratic, theoretical man. By comparing the case of Alan Strang (the Dionysian man) with the extreme case o/MartinDysart (the Socratic, theoretical man), one can illuminate the two characters around whom Shaffer's play is structured. Alan...

The plays ‘Equus’ and ‘The Crucible’ both explore the positive aspects of religion and its ..

Equus essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Equus by Peter Shaffer.

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Free Essay: This was where Alan could be one with his God, Equus


The Crucible Theme Religion Free Essays - StudyMode

Peter Shaffer’s play Equus is a journey into the mind of 17-year-old
Alan Strang and his religious obsession with horses. More importantly,
Alan’s obsession stems from a conflicted religious background complicated
by rising sexual feelings. Alan’s relationship with religion and
sexuality becomes twisted, and his form of worship morphs from awe and
fear of God into awe and fear of a horse spirit named Equus. Equus is
both a source of freedom and torment for Alan. As Alan gets deeper into
his passion for worshiping Equus, he departs from normalcy. However, will
“curing” Alan of his obsession be worthwhile when to do so, Dysart must
strip Alan of the passion Dysart feels jealous of? Equus is a play that
forces one to confront ideas about worship, passion and normalcy.

"The Crucible Theme Religion" Essays and Research Papers

Horses are Alan's personal religion. He worships Equus as his god, equating him to Jesus and insisting that he wears chains to pay for humanity's sins. This unique religion is what gives Alan his sense of self, and Dysart says that to take away a person's worship is the worst thing someone could possibly do. Dysart himself wishes he could feel such a strong religious calling, and he is fascinated by the Ancient Greeks, who saw small, individual gods in everything. In many ways, Equus provides examples of unconventional means of worship that are just as important as mainstream religions.

The theme of this scene is religion, ..

In uncovering the root causes behind Alan's crime, Dysart must determine whether his deviance stemmed from something innate in who he is, or from the circumstances of his upbringing. In reality, it is a little of both; yes, Alan's unconventional worship comes from inside of him, but his parents are not completely innocent as Dora insists they are; their controlling and confining methods of parenting made Alan feel a lack of freedom, and he looked to his newfound religion as a means of achieving this fulfillment.

Free essay topics, how to write essay on Equus Alan Father ..

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Religion in Crime and Punishment - UK Essays

As a psychiatrist, Dysart has dedicated his career to making children normal, finding the root cause of whatever has troubled them mentally in order to eliminate it and allow them to lead normal, pain-free lives. But as Alan's treatment goes on, Dysart finds it harder and harder to define exactly what normal is and why it is better that Alan be normal. Equus argues first that there is no one way to be normal, and second, that normal is not always desirable, since a normal life can be dull and passionless.

Equus religion essay Custom paper Service

Equus essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Equus by Peter Shaffer.

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