Portrayal Of Religion In Peter Shaffer’s Equus

1281 words - 5 pages

The book Equus, gives its audience a deeper view on religion by
relating it to a series of scenes in the play. Religion as a whole is
mainly a person’s belief and what they do in life depends on this
belief. If, within a religion, a person is told that something is the
right thing to do then that person will try in as many ways as
possible to live up to this. Religion can mean anything anyone wants
it to mean and be anything they make it. It does not have to be
believed in by many people, it can be a personal belief of one person.

‘Equus’ proves that religion can be anything. Alan, one of the main
characters of this play, finds belief in horses. He worships them,
just as many people worship God, Allah and Buddha. He has strong
feelings for them and spends as much time with them as possible. Much
the same as strong Christians do when at church. But as the play goes
on, he starts to feel more than a spiritual love for them and becomes
sexually attracted to them as well. He has such an overwhelming
passion for them that he spends all the time he can with them.

We learn that the main causes of his actions in the play are caused by
his parents. His mother is a strong Christian and his father an
atheist. His mother had tried to educate him about sex but failed to
tell it with the correct details. She tells him that when he falls in
love with someone that that is the right time to have sexual
relations. But Alan took this literally and believed he fell in love
with the horses. His father on the other hand had not educated him any
better either. When he met Jill, a girl who worked at the stables
with him, this was the closest he had ever been to a real, human
relationship. When they go out together Alan realises and is shocked
on how different their views on sexual activity are. When they are
together in the barn, where the crime happened, Jill is very open
about herself and when Alan becomes impotent she reassures him that it
is a very common thing.

Dysart another important character in the play talks about Alan’s
religion as ‘his worship’. This implies that it is the spark that
makes Alan different not strange. Martin Dysart can relate to this
because he knows what it feels like when something that it important
to you is taken from you. His work was his spark but recently he has
not been enjoying the rest of his life. He feels that when he is not
at work then he is not himself.

He refers to his wife as a ‘woman he has not kissed in 6 years’ when
talking to a friend. This shows that life outside of work does not
seem as important as it used to.

Like I said earlier Alan’s mother Dora is a religious woman, and has
tried to influence Alan down the same path as her, by reading the
bible to him from a young age. She tried to make him believe
everything as much as she did because she believed it to be the right
way of life. Alan’s father Frank, being an atheist believes that it is
all Dora’s fault...

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