Other characters


Hesther is Dysart’s friend, in whom he confides. She is a magistrate and consequently has some professional interest in the case of Alan Strang, but her role in the play is more as a confidante for Dysart. She is not particularly sympathetic to Dysart’s growing disillusionment, however, and seems the most well-balanced, cheerful and ‘normal’ person in the play. When Dysart is upset, Hesther is the voice of reason.


Jill works in the stables where Alan worked before he was hospitalised. She is a teenage girl who clearly takes an interest in Alan and is socially, sexually and relationally much more developed than he is. Abandoned by her own father, she appears to compensate for his loss by seeking physical relationships with other males.

Jill is attracted by Alan, asking him questions and teasing him as she attempts to deepen their relationship. It is her idea to go to the cinema and, later, to go to the stables. She does not understand the nature of Alan’s innate taboos, and anticipates that he will respond as she does herself, with no inhibitions. By attempting to re-direct Alan’s previously unfocused sexuality, she unintentionally sparks the chain of events which leads to Alan blinding the horses. 

Her ‘horrified alarm’ is an understandable reaction when Alan ‘turns on her, hissing. His face is distorted – possessed.’ In the face of Alan’s interior world, it is she who is the innocent, rather than Alan.


Dalton owns the stables where the horses were harmed. He is depicted as a down-to-earth man who is practical in his assessment of the care required by horses and as an employer. His concern for his horses and Jill’s welfare results in disgust at Alan’s actions. He has no sympathy for what might have caused Alan to blind the horses and in this represents the view of the general population.

The Nurse

The nurse is a personification of efficiency and sterile care. She handles Alan effectively and is well aware of professional procedures.

The Horseman

The young Horseman only appears in one scene (Act One Sc 10) but represents to Alan adulthood, physical power and freedom. To Frank, the Horseman symbolises the upper classes against whom he tries to exert what power he has (command of his son) but he is ineffective in the face of the Horseman’s social confidence.

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