Family Dynamics In Peter Shaffer’s Equus And Metamorphosis By Franz Kafka

1281 words - 5 pages

The two novels Equus and The Metamorphosis carry comparable themes which isolate the main character from the father figure within each story. Kafka and Schaffer both contrast similar ideas of rejection within a father and son relationship in Equus and The Metamorphosis, to imitate the way society policies its members through family disagreements. The family differences about religion in one novel, and the stress because of a major transformation which causes the parent to work in another, creates tension, and in turn results in rejection towards the son in the two books.
Throughout Equus, Schaffer manipulates the idea of rejection between Alan Strang and his father, by means of Alan’s imitation of biblical motifs from the Christian religion, with the use of a horse to reveal a deeper connection between a human and their God. The family members disagree on religion because of a son who believes in a Godly stature, and a father who rejects this belief due to being a disbeliever of God.
The father; Mr. Strang, rejects his son Alan because of the bond Alan has with the horse he refers to with the Latin word Equus. Alan’s bond with the horse portrays the power and grace one finds in religion, in which the father disagrees with. Mr. Strang explains to the doctor how Alan and his mother chant, “And Legwus begat Neckwus. And Neckwus begat Fleckwus, the king of Spit. And Fleckwus spoke out of his chinkle-chankle!” at the foot of his son’s bed, in front of the horse photograph he owns (Schaffer 46). This compares to a sinner who chants in front of a cross, or some religious symbol for forgiveness, or just out of traditional practices. The father believes this is absurd, and disagrees with his son’s religious behavior. Schaffer relies on more biblical motifs to further justify Mr. Strang’s rejection towards his son Alan. Alan rejoices towards the idea of having a spiritual connection to God, or better yet his Equus. Alan “kneels before the horse, palms upward joined together” asking his Equus to take his sins, just as one who believes in a God may crouch before a Godly symbol asking for remission of sins (Schaffer 69). Alan’s attention and attitude relates more so towards horses and religious practices, rather than to his father Mr. Strang, and as Alan continues to take on his religious actions, Mr. Strang becomes more frustrated. Family disagreements, in which a father rejects his son, can lead to hurt within the son’s emotional state and pushes them towards a more comfortable state, in this case religion. By bowing down towards Equus, Alan almost relieves some stress, and yet, his father still disapproves.
Another horse by the name of Nugget, adds more tension between the father and son, because the horse symbolizes another religious figure like God in the Christian religion through more spiritual connotations and biblical references. A reference to communion and the Last Supper in the Christian religion comes about once Alan offers Nugget his sins...

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