Equus, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


Teenager Alan, fought over by a religious mother and an atheist father, finds release in horses, until he is driven to blind them with a spike.

Why? While treating the boy, a psychiatrist discovers his own life is paradoxically in the witness box.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Pearson Education Limited
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Plays, playscripts
  • ISBN: 9780582097124

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Just reread Equus, by Peter Shaffer. Been a while since I read this, but it still stands up.Equus is nominally the story of Alan Strang, a disturbed 17 year old who has been remanded into psychiatric care after blinding six horses by stabbing them in the eyes. In the psychiatric hospital, he is placed under the care of Martin Dysart, a child psychatrist, who attempts to work out why Alan has done what he has done - but in the process is made to face some truths closer to home.While the play's title and narrative drive come from Strang and his actions, it's the examination of his own life, and wider truths, that Dysart is forced into that become the overall theme of the work. Ultimately, the play asks questions about the place of spiritual passion in modern life, and whether it is better to have a dark passion than to have none at all. Controversial when first staged, it still retains a lot of its power to shock and jar; Shaffer wields that power to direct the reader/viewer towards the questions that Dysart finds himself wrestling with at the play's close.Shaffer's play offers no definitive answers, but the questions it asks are provocative and worth considering. I've never seen this performed on the stage, but I imagine it takes on even more power from being seen as originally intended rather than read.

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