Act One Scene Fourteen

Synopsis of Scene 14

Frank Strang arrives to see Dysart, and explains that he doesn’t want his wife to know he has come. Frank explains that he didn’t want to explain in front of his wife, but eighteen months ago he had heard Alan, in his bedroom, chanting what sounded like a genealogical list from the Bible whilst standing in front of the photograph of the horse.

Alan then begins to recite a list, which is a made-up version of a horse’s genealogy. The final name in the list is Equus. He then makes a bridle out of string and puts it on himself, then beats himself with a coat hanger.

Frank says that he blames religion for this behaviour, and adds that Alan had been out with a girl that evening. He is clearly embarrassed and leaves abruptly.

Commentary on Scene 14

Begats: What Alan is chanting sounds like the genealogies found at the start of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke which explain the human ancestry of Christ (e.g. Matthew 1:1-5). Alan is making up names of horses to include in his invented genealogy. 

three score years: Score is an archaic term meaning twenty. The language echoes that of the King James Bible (e.g. Psalms 90:10)

only begotten son: In Alan’s genealogy, Equus seems to take the place of Christ, who is sometimes referred to in the New Testament as God’s ‘only begotten son’ (eg.1 John 4:9).

Flankus .. Spankus .. Spunkus: Alan’s invented names have erotic overtones.

Investigating scene 14...

  • How does Frank feel about his son’s behaviour?
    • Why does he come and tell Dysart about it?
  • What picture are you getting of Frank and Dora’s relationship?
  • How does the staging of this scene help us to understand Alan’s behaviour?
    • Is it helpful that Frank’s explanation is accompanied by Alan’s enactment of his worship of thepicture of the horse?
  • How does this scene help us to understand Alan’s worship of horses?
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