Juuxtaposition Of Light And Dark In Equus By Peter Shaffer

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In his play Equus, Peter Shaffer weaves a tapestry of myriad emotions and experiences interlaced with insinuating dark and light undertones The juxtaposition of ‘light’ and ‘dark’ (both literal and metaphorical), often captured by the lighting of the stage, typically serves to accentuate the mood of a scene or the stance of a character. This juxtaposition is redolent of a sense of balance between opposing forces that permeates the play. The lighting also serves to ultimately justify the actions of a character from another’s perspective.

The opening scene of the play strikes a relatively dark note and is set in ’darkness’ with Alan Strang, the primary protagonist, and his horse, Nugget, in a spotlight. As his psychiatrist, Martin Dysart,
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Though he seeks a way to transcend the darkness, he questions its existence and ultimately acknowledges his blindness (metaphorical) and lack of freedom since he would be forever restrained and bound to the “bit” in his mouth. Dysart’s soliloquy thus ends the play on a relatively dark note and is followed by a blackout which throws the theater into darkness. The blackout can be interpreted as being representative of Dysart’s blindness and the beginning of Alan’s journey towards the …show more content…
In her first conversation with Dysart (1:2), Dysart states that he is busy tending to “the usual unusual” and thus has no time to see anyone new. However, when she appeals to their friendship and claims that Alan’s is the strangest case she has ever seen and urges him to take on his case since there was something very special about him, Dysart becomes immediately interested and agrees to take him on as a patient. In her next conversation with him (when she comes to Dysart’s office to check on Alan) (1:6), she runs into Alan’s parents and thus chats with Dysart about their relationship with Alan. Their conversation seems to proceed smoothly through the scene and towards its end, Dysart proceeds to kiss her cheek and she leaves the square. In their final conversation (1:18), Hesther inquires about Dysart’s brisk (albeit virtually non-existent) relationship with his wife, Margaret. He rhetorically asks her if she knows “what it’s like for two people to live in same house as if they were in different parts of the world?” She ultimately sympathizes with him and proceeds to kiss him on the cheek before taking her leave. These conversations between Hesther and Dysart highlight the amicability in their relationship and the ‘warmth’ in their friendship is thus reflected in the ‘warmth’ of the stage

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