Normalcy In Peter Shaffer's Equus

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Humans in the past and present have always strived to blend into their societies and uphold the appearance of normalcy. However, in Act I of his play Equus, Peter Shaffer explores normalcy both the upsides and downsides of normalcy. While Doctor Dysart examines the disturbed child of Alan Strang, Dysart reflects on the detrimental side effects of being normal and his own duties as a doctor. In Dysart’s monologue (Shaffer 62), Shaffer utilizes contrasting diction and antithesis between the good and bad sides of normalcy to emphasize Dysart’s conflict between maintaining mediocrity and maintaining individuality in his patients. Through the antithesis of normalcy’s simultaneous properties of assistance and destruction, Shaffer shows that a truly normal life eliminates human passion and originality. Dysart addresses the contradicting aspects of uniformity that imply its inevitable coexistence with dullness: while “the Normal is the good smile in a child’s eyes […] it is also the dead stare in a million adults. […] It is the Ordinary made beautiful; it is also the Average made lethal” ...

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