Mental Aspects: Exploring Mental Elements In Equus

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It is difficult to trace back one’s troubled past in order to make sense of the mentally disturbed things they do as an outcome. In the play “Equus” Psychiatrist Martin Dysart tries to find normality for Alan Strang, who is troubled by his past. Several aspects of mental state are explored within the play. One is that Alan confuses the different ideas presented to him in similar ways. He confuses the holy qualities between Jesus Christ and a horse, which he manifests into the god Equus. Another are the different psychological tools used as mental influences. Finally Dysart is centered in the middle of the catharsis of Alan, Mr. and Mrs. Strang and himself. It becomes clearer that Alan’s mentality is confused between two truths as “he recovere[s] when he was given the photograph of the horse” in place of the photo of Jesus. (Shaffer 45) He originally “cried for days without stopping” (45) when the depiction of his god was “[torn] off the boy’s wall and [thrown into] the dustbin” (45) by his father. Alan seems to accept the replacement of “[t]he Christ …loaded down with chains, and the centurions…really laying on the stripes” (45) with a “remarkable picture” (45) of a horse with eyes “staring straight at you” (45). On one side Alan has his mother “night after night having [the bible] read into him” (34) and his father on the other side atheist, and tries “to put a stop to it” (34). The poster of a crucified Jesus represents a spiritual and sacred figure, until his father “threw it in the dustbin” (45) and replaces it with the image of a horse that seems to suffice a messiah. Alan then focuses spiritual mentality on the horse as he treats the new photo as a god-like figure when he “knelt down” (51) infront of it, and chant to it “like the bible” (50). Neither one of his parents are making it clear to him what is worth worshipping, or what is the truth.

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