Family Dynamics in Peter Shaffer’s Equus and Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

Family Dynamics in Peter Shaffer’s Equus and Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

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The two novels Equus and The Metamorphosis carry comparable themes which isolate the main character from the father figure within each story. Kafka and Schaffer both contrast similar ideas of rejection within a father and son relationship in Equus and The Metamorphosis, to imitate the way society policies its members through family disagreements. The family differences about religion in one novel, and the stress because of a major transformation which causes the parent to work in another, creates tension, and in turn results in rejection towards the son in the two books.
Throughout Equus, Schaffer manipulates the idea of rejection between Alan Strang and his father, by means of Alan’s imitation of biblical motifs from the Christian religion, with the use of a horse to reveal a deeper connection between a human and their God. The family members disagree on religion because of a son who believes in a Godly stature, and a father who rejects this belief due to being a disbeliever of God.
The father; Mr. Strang, rejects his son Alan because of the bond Alan has with the horse he refers to with the Latin word Equus. Alan’s bond with the horse portrays the power and grace one finds in religion, in which the father disagrees with. Mr. Strang explains to the doctor how Alan and his mother chant, “And Legwus begat Neckwus. And Neckwus begat Fleckwus, the king of Spit. And Fleckwus spoke out of his chinkle-chankle!” at the foot of his son’s bed, in front of the horse photograph he owns (Schaffer 46). This compares to a sinner who chants in front of a cross, or some religious symbol for forgiveness, or just out of traditional practices. The father believes this is absurd, and disagrees with his son’s religious behavior. Schaffer relies on ...


... middle of paper ...


...r neglects his son.
The two authors Schaffer and Kafka present the ideas of rejection differently, and both isolate the main character from their father, at the same time. By focusing on multiple disagreements throughout the novels, the authors reveal the reasons for rejection between the father and son, and both of the sons separate themselves differently. While Alan separates himself to find faith in his own religion, Samsa isolates himself because of his current appearance of a bug. Knowing that in Equus the difference in religion causes the rejection, and in The Metamorphosis, the act of work causes the separation, allow the readers to see the author’s intent to reject and isolate the main characters.



Works Cited



Kafka, Franz. The Metamorphosis. Trans. Stanley Corngold. New York: Bantam, 1972.

Shaffer, Peter. Equus. New York, Scribner, 1973.

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