How Does Peter Shaffer Use Themes as Devices in Equus to Validate the Unpleasant.

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It is difficult to suggest what the comfortable view of normal is as there are many different perceptions, which should be considered. In the beginning of ‘Equus’ one considers the character of Martin Dysart to be normal as he rarely strays outside of societies boundaries. However, as we move through the play one discovers there is much more to Martin Dysart than once thought. In reality the themes dealt with in ‘Equus’ challenges our own sense of what is normal. They are as equally as shocking to Dysart, yet made justifiable by Alan Strang’s worship for Equus, the god of horses. This is why ‘Peter Shaffer’ uses ‘Equus’ as a sort of device to standardize and make the strange acceptable. He does this by introducing a sense of innocence into the character of Alan Strang. This innocence is brought out through Strang’s worship and love for Equus. By exploring the mind of Strang we are forced to question the importance of normality in comparison to one’s individuality. However it’s the many different types of uniqueness that essentially forms society. Thus meaning that there is little room in the fabric of society for the ‘comfortable view’ of what is normal.

In the beginning Martin Dysart is portrayed to fit the ‘comfortable view’ of what is normal. He is illustrated as a honourable man who rarely strays from the confines set by society. However we discover through conversations with Hesther and personal reflections that he is deeply troubled. Suddenly our view of Dysart is compromised as both us, as an audience, and Dysart question his normality. Along with this our perception of normality is skewed as we wonder whether there is such a quality. Dysart feels that by removing one’s uniqueness he is destroying part of their personality, simply so they can fit the comfortable view of what is normal. As children we care little for the normality set by society. ‘The normal is the good smile in a child's eyes. There's also the dead stare in a million adults. It both...
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