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3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  14,241 ratings  ·  420 reviews
An explosive play that took critics and audiences by storm, Equus is Peter Shaffer's exploration of the way modern society has destroyed our ability to feel passion. Alan Strang is a disturbed youth whose dangerous obsession with horses leads him to commit an unspeakable act of violence. As psychiatrist Martin Dysart struggles to understand the motivation for Alan's brutal ...more
Paperback, 112 pages
Published October 1st 2005 by Scribner (first published 1973)
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i am a little sad that the play was recast with daniel radcliffe, as i feel that everyone now associates this brilliant, brilliant work with naked harry potter and a horse.

this is so much more than that. this is one of the greatest works of drama (and psychology) i think ever written. we read this my senior year of high school, in my ap lit course, with mr. hackling (one of my favorite teachers ever). and we read it in conjunction with our philosophy of religion course, so that we had four-time
Ryan Chapman
Apr 23, 2007 Ryan Chapman rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: nonfiction
I don't care if it took Harry Potter to disrobe for people to finally see this masterwork. This is without a doubt my favorite play from one of my favorite playwrights. Like most great works, it conflates several dichotomies without leaning too heavily on any of them. Adolescene v. adulthood? Check. Urban v. Rural? Check. Rationalism v. Romanticism? Check. A teenage boy blinding six horses in a fit of psychosexual mania? Check.

There's whispers the London production's coming stateside. If so, I
Devastating. Compelling. A must read.
Bookish Dervish
I was given this play by a dear friend of mine. Once I sat sail through its pages, I got addicted to it. Now it's 6:00 AM and I have been reading it all through the night. What I like most about it is that it is psychological. The plot is well built. I also like the part where Alan and Dysart mutually investigate the matter of each other's dreams to find out that it was the shrink's dream is more related to illnesses the dream being the doctor practicing the ritual of sacrificing hundreds of chi ...more
(Very minor spoilers). I love works that try to make you sympathize with the villain, rather than making them out to be barely human monsters, as so many books and movies tend to do. I can't help but think it's mostly laziness on the part of the creators. It's easier to create someone who, as the main character in Peter Shaffer's play, hurts animals in a fit of insanity and leave it at that, letting the audience mindlessly hate him, than it is to create a villain and really dig into his motives, ...more
Is it even possible to discuss Equus anymore without considering Harry Potter's wang? Were there conversations that existed about this strange, psychological, pre Law and Order play that didn't include a nude Daniel Radcliffe and horses? I never even saw the play but it was impossible to walk down a city block on the west side of Manhatten without seeing posters of that hilarious extra from the show "Extras" staring blankly at any passerby, arms outstretched christ-on-a-cross-like with his lower ...more
Pirmā luga manā dzīvē, kuras lasīšanu es izbaudīju, galvenokārt droši vien tāpēc, ka vide šeit nav nozīmīga, svarīga ir tikai saruna un rakšanās Alana galvā. Un dīvainā kārtā, par spīti vides otršķirīgumam, visa darbība manā galvā zīmējās ļoti spilgtā filmā.

Trust me: it's not just that play about Harry Potter getting (a) naked and (b) it on with a horse. It's about the construction of God and meaning in the modern waste land; and perhaps even more compellingly, about the moral dilemma of a therapist who has to convince his patient to abandon all escape routes and return to the waste land. (In that sense, it reminds me a great deal of Pat Barker's Regeneration .) It's a play of ideas, basically, only thinly veiled by its outrageous subject matter. ...more
Jun 19, 2014 Kate rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kate by: Eric Kibler
Shelves: 2014-books
When I tried to read more short stories last year, I failed miserably as I really dislike the genre. I decided to try to read more drama as I enjoyed it in high school and took a Shakespeare and another drama course in college and since then had read none. For my summer BOTNS Bingo Challenge, I got the square that said "A play". Many thanks to Eric Kibler who recommended a handful of his favorites, Equus among them. I had never seen it performed and knew t was about horses. Written in 1973, it i ...more
Nethaniel Martinez
The play is a well written one with a very memorable story line and in depth characters. The plot is a well thought out one and the way horses are portrayed could change the way you see them if you are someone with a weaker mind. However I found it weak but that is just my opinion. Writing the play in the eyes of Dysart is one the author chose but not one that I agree on, I feel like 3rd person would have been more effective. The idea of it being the kids fault or the parents fault that they bec ...more
Ioana Calinoiu
I absolutely loves this play.

It's about religion and how believing (or not) in something may affect our life. It's about right and wrong. What is normality? Should you strive to be normal or is that just another word for boring, the same as everyone. Should we envy the passion and dedication those deemed not normal have for their obsessions?

Here is my favorite part from one of doctor Dysarts monologues :

"The Normal is the indispensable, murderous God of Health, and I am his Priest. My tools ar
This play is not something I would usually read for fun but I also do not regret reading it because even though it was unusual it gave me a new perspective by the different ideas of all the characters. Something that I disagreed with was the part where Alan's mom was telling Dysart that it was not the parents fault of the their children being the way they are because I believe parents do have a huge impact in a children's life and sometimes it is their fault because in this case Dora kept puttin ...more
Althea J.
Wow, so much to think about.
What do you choose, passionless sanity or ecstasy-filled worship and obsession?

I wish I could've seen Daniel Radcliffe in this play. I pictured him as Alan as I read it but I bet his performance was phenomenal.

And how ironic that he starred in this play at the height of the Harry Potter fandom. Mr. Radcliffe could probably tell you all about what passionate worship looks like from the perspective of the horse.
This play asks many important questions. What is the definition of normal, and what is the benefit of moving a human being in closer proximity to it? The question, "I have galloped; have you?" echoes Thoreau's desire "to live deeply and suck out all the marrow of life..."

I have become a fan of Peter Shaffer's work after seeing Amadeus both performed live and adapted to film. I had first heard of Equus a few years ago, when Daniel Radcliffe's portrayal of horse-obsessed Alan Strang garnered much
I really enjoyed Amadeus, so I decided to read this as well. At first, I wasn't sure where Shaffer was going, what point he was making. Alan is a a seventeen-year-old boy in a mental hospital because he stabbed six horses in the eyes with a metal pick. Dysart is Alan's doctor, and he wants to help Alan as well as understand him. He wants to know why he did it, why people do things like that, and why he has to "fix them."
Shaffer does an excellent job of characterizing Alan and Dysart before he r
This play has sat on my shelf for eight years after getting it for a dollar at a theater flea market. (It's a Samuel French edition, but from London; the size is all wrong and the paper is all funny.) It seemed like a good idea at the time, since coming out of high school I self-educated myself in playwriting by simply reading every play I'd heard of. Heard of this one! But then I just sat there with it. A couple Saturdays ago I pulled it down to read. The play is getting a lot of press right no ...more
In a play including a character as complex as Alan Strang, who is sucking the cream off of a horse’s neck in one moment, and blinding six with a metal spike in the next, Peter Shaffer makes it an adventure for his readers to focus on the meat of his play. Equus, based on an actual crime that occurred in London, follows the psychoanalysis of a deranged youth who commits a heinous act against six horses, but it is the revelations of his psychiatrist, Dr. Martin Dysart, that emanate the play’s true ...more
maybe 2.5??? idk i need to think on it but first impression lmAO i've had this book since hs and for the fricking life of me the only reason i'da pick this up is bc of daniel radcliffe and i just... man. i couldn't stop laughiHGN like i took it kinda srsly but mostly.. i just kept thinking 'he wants to sex a horse' and stared into space. ... obvs i'm starting to think plays aren't for me
Ian Johnston
An amazing play by an exceptional playwright. I'm into reading plays so I understand they are not for everyone, but Equus might be worth your time even if you don't generally read plays. Shaffer describes in enough detail the atmosphere his play is meant to evoke, and like most good plays it's all in the dialogue. The play is about a psychologist named Dysart who has been tasked with "curing" Alan Strang, a young man with a religious obsession with horses. Of course, there is more to the play th ...more
Jim Coughenour
Back in the 70s I saw the Sidney Lumet film version of this play and was bowled over by Richard Burton and Peter Firth. As I remember, the audience stumbled out of the theatre in stunned silence. (And yes, at that point, the full frontal nudity was shocking: it worked exactly as Shaffer hoped it would, I'd guess.)

Recently I decided to read the script, which is sparer than the film. Thirty years later the play's tortured psychological revelations do feel a bit dated, but Equus is still a solid pi
Facinating, I couldn't put it down. I enjoyed the psychological game of who's curing who. It is a play that makes you dig deeper into your own self. Allan has been able to explore the MARVELLOUS and create his own world of fantacy, worshiping his own God "Equus".
I feel thrilled and speechless because this play had a great impact on me. Altough its perversity It's just awsome. It will take you elsewhere.
This was so amazingly good. The symbolism was just too good, and well I'm not even sure what to say right now. I might update this after I collect my thoughts some more.
أحمد مصلح
استمتعت بقرائتها رغم عدم ميلي لقراءة المسرحيات بشكل عام
Peter Kolesnikov
Peter Shaffer can do no wrong. Equus, Royal Hunt of the Sun and Amadeus...all great reads. Equus is disturbing in a way the other two plays aren't: budding sexuality crossed with an unhealthy fear of God, horses' eyes, but most importantly the therapist's belief that the adjusted existence to which he is supposed to return his patients is a barren and empty one. Favorite quote: "My desire might be to make this boy an ardent husband - a caring citizen - a worshipper of abstract and unifying God. ...more
A surprisingly good play, worth checking out if you have not read it or worth a re read if you have.
You know how it goes – sometimes the newsline brings a cluster of reviews of a particular book. The reason may be a new edition, an upcoming screen version, or a local book club meeting – in the case of Equus it was, I suppose, some kind of “grapevine”, and after stumbling across the title three days in a row, I finally put it in my list. I was both convinced that it was a must read, a landmark in modern literature (or at least in drama), a mind-turning work – and at the same time I feared to op ...more
Sep 16, 2015 Leonardo marked it as to-keep-reference  ·  review of another edition
En Equus, de Peter Shaffer, la policía pide al psiquiatra Martin Dysart que trate al joven de diecisiete años Alan Strand, que inexplicablemente ha dejado ciegos a seis caballos en el establo donde trabajaba. Dysart descubre que cuando Alan era un niño, su madre, una devota católica, le leía diariamente pasajes de la Biblia, mientras que su ateo padre, preocupado porque Alan estaba adquiriendo un interés poco saludable por los aspectos más violentos de la Biblia, destruyó un cuadro de la crucifi ...more
For our generation’s readers, whenever the word “equus” is spoken aloud, the first image brought to mind is not the mystery that envelopes those two syllables, but instead a naked Daniel Radcliffe straddling a mechanical horse. While there is no denying the existence of said production, what lies beyond proves to be a psychologically tantalizing story in which a terrifying battle arises between devious desires and religious dominations.
The controversial Tony Award winner begins as psychiatrist
This is surely an intriguing story and the staging and structure was inventive. There are several big ideas woven into this compact piece. I read it in about an hour and half.
Many people seem to think that this book deals with the way modern society has dulled our capacity for awe and worship. The psychiatrist in the book even comes to envy the horse-worshipping patient because he hasn't lost his capacity for his adoration. This, I cannot go along with. Even just within the context of the book,
Taylor Findlay
I have never taken my "pleasure reading" time and read a play. Never. So as excited about the plot as I was, I was completely unsure of how I would get on with it. However, this was amazing.

The plot of the story goes like this: a deranged boy gets sent to a hospital and assigned to an intense (yet good-hearted) therapist because one night he takes a dagger of sort and blinds horses. I'm not kidding.

While this seems gruesome and so very "how could one ever make sense of this", it's not like that.
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Does Alan want to have sex with Jill? 5 41 Mar 20, 2012 12:36PM  
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Sir Peter Levin Shaffer is an English dramatist, author of numerous award-winning plays, several of which have been filmed.

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“He'll be delivered from madness. What then? He'll feel himself acceptable! What then? Do you think feelings like his can be simply re-attached, like plasters? Stuck on to other objects we select? Look at him! ... My desire might be to make this boy an ardent husband - a caring citizen - a worshipper of abstract and unifying God. My achievement, however, is more likely to make a ghost!” 22 likes
“Passion, you see, can be destroyed by a doctor. It cannot be created.” 20 likes
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