The significance of character in Equus

Re-telling events

The way in which characters are developed is crucial to the plot and structure of the play. The main ‘action’ of Equus takes place in the dialogue between Alan and Dysart, and during these conversations we learn a lot about what has happened and why. We also see flashbacks from Alan’s past, which help to explain his character, and we see other characters interacting, for example:

  • Alan and Jill
  • Hesther and Dysart
  • Alan’s parents and Dysart. 

Most of the major dialogue in the play involves either Alan, Dysart or both, as they are the most important characters.


While you are studying the play, think about:

  • What the characters say and what they really mean
  • How believable you find the characters
  • Whose point of view you are seeing
  • How the characters interact with each other and how this interaction changes
  • How the characters want to be seen – are they putting on an act?

Investigating characters...

  • Make a list of the characters in the play.
    • Which are the most crucial?
  • Does this play have a ‘hero’ and, if so, who is it?
  • What do we learn from how the characters interact?
  • Which are the most significant scenes and why?
  • What purpose do you think the minor characters play?
    • For example, what do characters such as Frank and Dora add to the plot?
Scan and go

Scan on your mobile for direct link.