Act Two Scene Thirty-four

Synopsis of Scene 34

Alan stands in the stable, naked, listening to the Equus noise. He tells Dysart that Equus had seen him and was laughing at him. He kneels and begs Equus for forgiveness, but Equus appears to tell him that he possesses him and he cannot escape being seen. Alan, in a frenzy of despair, takes the hoof pick and stabs the eyes of Nugget and the other horses. The stage is filled with the blinded horses moving about and when they eventually leave, Alan is alone, hysterical and wishing for death.

Commentary on Scene 34

Friend … Merciful: These are attributes of Jesus according to the New Testament.

The Lord thy God is a Jealous God: Dysart repeats a phrase about God from a passage in the Old Testament where God’s people are warned not to serve other gods (in Alan’s mind, perhaps human sexual relationships) (see Deuteronomy 6:14-15).

Eyes like flames: Alan draws on the imagery associated with Christ in heaven, as depicted in Revelation 1:14-15.

God seest: The idea that nothing is hidden from God’s sight is common in the Bible (e.g. Genesis 16:13, Proverbs 15:3).

archetypal images: Typical, or representative. Possibly they represent the Horsemen of the Apocalypse in Revelation.

Investigating scene 34...

  • Why do you think Dysart takes the part of Equus, seeming to goad Alan?
  • Why is Alan so distressed?
  • Do you find the moment when he stabs the horses’ eyes shocking?
    • How has the play led up to this?
    • What has Shaffer already told us about the finale to the play?
  • How does the staging work here?
    • Does the noise and the horses on the stage help to create a feeling of panic at the end of the scene?
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