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What is the plot summary of the play "Equus"?

A:

Quick Answer

The play "Equus" by Peter Shaffer is about a psychiatrist who attempts to treat a young man who has a strange fascination with horses. Inspired by a real-life crime in which a boy in a small English town blinded six horses, the play attempts to consider why this happened.

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Full Answer

At first, psychiatrist Martin Dysart has little luck appealing to Alan Strang, the 17-year-old boy he is trying to treat. By using a game in which each may ask a question that the other must answer truthfully, he begins to reveal details of the boy's past.

Dysart discovers that Strang's obsession with horses, which caused him to blind six of the animals in a barn, stems from a childhood experience of feeling free and powerful while riding one. After a failed romantic encounter with a girl, he blinds the horses because he believes they see and know everything.

Dysart comes to the realization that he can indeed treat Strang but begins to worry about the repercussions of doing so. Envious of the genuine passion that the boy has experienced and that he himself has never known, Dysart acknowledges that modern society looks down on true vitality and becomes concerned that treating Strang would ultimately turn him into a ghost.

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