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Love Through The Ages | Equus

Ruth Owen | Wednesday October 12, 2011



Guide Navigation

  1. Studying For The Exam
  2. Examples From Literature
  3. About The Exam
  4. Further Reading
  5. The Examination
  6. Symptoms of Love, Graves
  7. On Chesil Beach
  8. The First Tooth, Lamb
  9. The Deserter
  10. The Soldier, Brooke
  11. A Lady of Letters
  12. Sonnet 130, Shakespeare
  13. Measure for Measure
  14. Hamlet
  15. Othello
  16. King Lear
  17. Great Expectations
  18. Enduring Love
  19. Mid-Term Break, Heaney
  20. Your Last Drive
  21. The Going
  22. The Waste Land, Elliot


Peter Shaffer 1926-

This is an extract from the play Equus by Peter Shaffer, written in 1973. Alan, a young man who has an obsession with horses and has blinded six of them, is being treated by Dysart, a psychiatrist. In this extract Alan’s mother, Dora Strang, has arrived. Her visit is not welcome. She feels she is being blamed for how her son is behaving. This of course is an age-old theme – blaming the parents for the actions of the child.

‘Dysart: I must ask you never to come here again.

Dora: Do you think I want to? Do you think I want to?

Dysart: Mrs. Strang, what on earth has got into you? Can’t you see the boy is highly distressed?

Dora:  (ironic) Really?

Dysart: Of course! He’s at a most delicate stage of treatment. He’s totally exposed. Ashamed. Everything you can imagine!

Dora: (exploding) And me? What about me? …What do you think I am?...I’m a parent, of course – so it doesn’t count. That’s a dirty word in here isn’t it, ‘parent’?

Dysart: You know that’s not true.

Dora: Oh, I know, all right! I’ve heard it all my life. It’s our fault. Whatever happens we did it. Alan’s just a little victim. He’s really done nothing at all! (savagely)What do you have to do in this world to get any sympathy – blind animals?

Dysart: Sit down Mrs. Strang.

Dora: (Ignoring him: more and more urgently) Look, Doctor: you don’t have to live with this. Alan is one patient to you: one out of many. He’s my son. I lie awake every night thinking about it. Frank lies there beside me. I can...

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