A Comparison Between Equus and The Awakening
November 28, 2012
Thesis: Edna Pontillier and Dr. Martin Dysart were trapped by their roles in society. Their jobs and marriages suppressed them, and they struggled daily to rebel against these roles, altering their lives forever.
Breaking Free of the Chains and Fighting for Freedom
Too often, humans live life blindly. The walk through their lives following the motions, not truly living. These people try to see things clearly, yet the harder they try the more difficult it becomes. Every action taken by a person alters their life in a way. There are instances where the action can give clarity to a person. They can be given their vision whether it be temporarily or permanently; allowing them to live. Edna Pontillier, from the novella The Awakening, and Dr. Martin Dysart, from the play Equus, both wanted things in life that they did not have. Both characters struggled and were blinded by the lives they lead. Everyday they fought to achieve their goals and make what they wanted of their lives. Edna Pontillier and Dr. Martin Dysart were trapped by their roles in society. Their jobs and marriages suppressed them, and they struggled daily to rebel against these roles, altering their lives forever.
Edna Pontillier is trapped by her gender role in society. She desires freedom from the life she is lives and these roles which she is being forced to play. To her society Edna was considered a bad mother woman. She did not worship her husband, nor did she idolize her children. In one specific instance, Mr. Pontillier believed that Raoul had a fever, and when Edna lacked concern he “reproached [her for] her inattention, her habitual neglect of the children.”(Chopin, 5) Edna Pontillier was not cut out for the life of a mother woman. She was young and wished to stay that way. She had a nanny take care of the children, and would constantly leave them behind. Edna Pontillier would rather go to the beach, and laugh with her friend Robert then perform her duties as a wife and mother. Edna lived a dual life; “That outward existence which conforms, [to society and the roles she must play, such as being a mother woman differ from] the inward life which questions”(Chopin, 13) why she must play these roles and cannot just be who she’s like to be. Her marriage lacked passion, and she wanted more of her life. She did not want to live repressed by being a mother woman; she wanted to be free and live out on her own. She did not wish to rely on Mr. Pontillier or to worship the children; Edna wanted to remain true to herself, and unchanged by the people around her.
Dr. Martin Dysart is trapped by his job and his marriage. He attempts to free his patients from their problems, but they only help him discover how deep he is in his own issues; he truly wants to be free himself. Dr. Dysart is chained down by society, he struggles with finding himself through his marriage and his job. He feels as if he is a horse, “All reined up in old language and old assumptions, straining to jump clean-hoofed on to a whole new track of being I only suspect is there. [He] can't see it, because [his] educated, average head is being held at the wrong angle. [he] can't jump because the bit forbids it, and [his] own basic force - horsepower, if you like - is too little.” (Shaffer, ). Dysart is treating a patient who blinded six horses; this patient, Alan Strang’s case helped Dysart come to fully realize his unhappiness with life. Dysart as a psychatrist is a very important man. He helps heal people of their mental illnesses, he picks apart their brains to find what’s wrong, and how to treat it. One night, he dreamt of cutting children open and ripping their guts out. This very act was making him sicker and sicker with each child he cut open. His two assistants realized he was becoming ill and snatched...