In the play “Equus,” by Peter Shaffer, the main character Dysart is dissatisfied with his job as a psychiatrist until he meets Alan Strang. Dysart is overworked, overwhelmed and disillusioned because of the amount of troubled adolescents he counsels. Hesther, Dysart‘s good friend, convinces Dysart to treat Alan because otherwise he’d be jailed for the crime he committed. When Alan arrives at the Neville Ward Dysart finds the case intriguing and puzzling. Alan was found guilty of blinding six horses with a metal spike all on the same night..
Alan’s passion for horses is what makes this situation so strange. Dysart feels Alan’s crime towards the horses has more to do with rebellion against Alan’s parents. Since Alan’s parents don’t allow him to watch TV, Dysart intentionally lets Alan watch TV just to see his reaction. Dysart also learns that Alan’s mother is a headstrong Christian, while Frank Strang is a grounded atheist. Frank dislikes the way Dora quietly reads bible stories to Alan before bed, or how she hung the picture of the Crucifixion at the end of Alan’s bed.
During the next few days Dysart slowly makes progress by allowing Alan to ask him questions in response to his own questions; this is when Alan reveals a great deal about his first experience with horses. During their conversations Dysart finds out that Alan’s first and last encounter with a horse was on a beach when he was 6 years old. A horseman let Alan get up on the horse and ride but that magnificent opportunity ended abruptly when Alan‘s parents saw him on that horse.