Plato and Equus

Plato once said that man is a being in search of meaning.In Peter Shaffer's disturbing play, Equus, psychologist Martin Dysart and his patient, Alan Strang, are searching for meaning.Alan Strang has chosen the path of nonrationalism to give him this meaning.He worships Equus a God that he has taken from parts of Christianity and has assumed its form of that of a horse.Martin Dysart atfirst glance is a man of reason.He is a overworked psychiatrist who helps people become healthy and rational again.Dysart feels he is missing a sense of meaning in his life and sees that his young patient, Strang, has that sense of meaning and is ambivalent as to whether he should take that from Alan by "curing" him.Plato, the preeminent rationalist would find fault with both characters.Plato would be even more disappointed with Dysart.According to Plato rationality is the only way to understand the world.Dysart is an educated man, he spent years studying to become what he is today, a psychiatrist, and has thereby remembered more of the innate knowledge that is within all of us.While Strang has given himself over to nonrationalism and Dysart should know better than to do the same.
Alan Strang's behavior is bizarre to say the least.One does not have to be a Platonist to find his actions puzzling.When Alan Strang worships Equus he takes out one of the horses from the stable where he works and rides naked on it and experiences sexual climax.He then kneels down in supplication to his "God."According to Plato, Strang is far from the ideal condition of the human soul.Plato stated that the ideal human soul is rational.He or she makes sense.Reason is sufficient to carry us through even the most difficult of times.
Plato's metaphysics is dualism.While this world is constantly changing it is not really Real.The Real is the world of the forms.Strang has taken the notion of The Good and…

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