Religion And Its Role In ‘Equus’
‘Equus’ is a play, written by Peter Shaffer, which has inspired different thoughts and contributions to the matters of psychology, medicine and religion. The text somewhat criticizes the central theme and concept of religion. It also gives one a deeper meaning of religion and the certain practices that qualify one’s actions as ways of worship. According to the Oxford dictionary, religion is the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods. From this definition, it is very important to note that religion is personal and can mean whatever it means to each person as an individual. This is part of the message that Shaffer wishes to pass across. The different characters in the play consider religion to be different. On one side, that of the mother, Dora Strang, it is sacred and should only refer to Jesus who died out of love for all. He alone is to be ‘worshipped’ because He is the true savior. On the other hand, the father, Frank Strang does not believe in any religion at all. He claims that he is an atheist and that “religion is the opium of the people” (Equus, ch. 6). This means that religion is just a bore that serves to put the realities of one’s life to sleep in exchange for a fantasy-like world. As the play progresses, one notices the conflict between these views and how they manifest in their sons life. Alan Strang, the son of Dora and Frank, creates his own religion which is based on his need to unite the views of both parents. “As a passionate young boy who sees the world and figures of worship differently than others, Alan struggles to become part of a religion of identification, while unable to reject the idea of a religion of relationship that he has known his entire life. Ultimately, Alan realizes that he is unable to blend both religions, and must choose which to accept. Because of his confusion between the two relationships, his worship consumes him” (Watt, 2012). This...
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