Isolated Characters In Peter Shaffer’s Equus And Albert Camus’s The Stranger

1279 words - 5 pages

In Equus and The Stranger, authors Peter Shaffer and Albert Camus create an absence of passion and love for their characters of Dysart and Meursault through characterization and overall tone of the text, which creates isolated characters. Camus and Shaffer manipulate the characters relationships with women to prove the lack of love. The authors also demonstrate the lack of passion throughout the text, and later it confirms the overall affect it has on both of the characters lives, even though they end results are different.
Camus and Shaffer develop relationships with women that lack real love to show how the characters of Meursault and Dysart have no real affection in their lives. The relationships of the characters, when carefully observed are very different. Dysart has a loveless relationship with his wife. Throughout the play Dysart will mention his wife and explain how they have no affection towards each other, and how they never really had a relationship to begin with. He mentions, “We were brisk in our wooing, brisk in our wedding, brisk in our disappointment” (Shaffer, 57). Dysart tells the audience that, “My wife doesn’t understand me, Your Honour” (57), speaking to another female friend about his wife. Shaffer creates a sort of irritation in Dysart because he doesn’t have love from his spouse. At a one point he states, “I watch that woman knitting, night after night-a woman I haven’t kissed in six years…” (81). Shaffer creates this hopeless love because it increases the lack of passion felt by Dysart; it frustrates him to a level where he can’t really comprehend.
Meursault’s careless attitude affects the people around and his relationship with those characters. When he and Marie begin their romance, he doesn’t really give it much thought and mainly focuses on the physical aspect of their relationship. Whenever Camus mentions Marie in the text, Meursault mainly focuses on her breasts or how much he wants to sleep with her. “A minute later she asked me if I loved her. I told her it didn’t mean anything but I didn’t think so. She looked sad” (Camus, 35). Meursault never really shows love for anyone, yet this seems to be a chosen way of life, compared to Dysart who lacks love yet, yearns for it. Meursault also doesn’t see that compromise to one person is very important or that it should be taken seriously. “That evening Marie came by to see me and asked me if I wanted to marry her. I said it didn’t make any difference to me and that we could if she wanted to” (41). Meursault portrays it as something that isn’t very important and doesn’t need much thought. Meursault’s relationship with Marie isn’t the only one that lacked love. His relationship with his mother was just as dry. The reader comes to understand this fully when Camus states, “Maman died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don’t know” (3). From the start one can tell that there was never any real love in that relationship. Meursault doesn’t really balance love as something vital in...

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