Equus Imagery

Dysart's Dream

Dysart's entire description of his dream of sacrificing children is rich with imagery, with lines such as "I fit in the knife and slice elegantly down the navel" and "their gold pop-eyes suddenly fill up with blood" that describe to both Hesther and the audience how vividly horrendous this scene was in his mind. 

"The way their necks twist, and sweat shines in the folds..."

Alan describes the physicality of these horses with an intense sexual admiration, heavy with sensory details as he talks about them. He is particularly fascinated by the movement of their skin. Since Dysart is not actually living these moments with Alan, it is important that Alan describes what he sees as accurately as possible. 

"I'm in some Doric temple—clouds tearing through pillars—eagles bearing prophecies out of the sky."

Dysart describes the scenes of Greece with deep admiration. He says many times that this is the place he wants to be most in the world, but wishes that he had someone he could take there with him who would understand just how profound of a place it is. His wife has never been this person for him, which is part of his dissatisfaction with his relationship. 

"I stand in the dark with a pick in my hands, striking at heads!"

Dysart describes this powerful image at the very end of the play, as he laments the uncertainty and doubt surrounding his career after treating Alan. The language here sets a sense of chaos, fitting with the chaos of Dysart's own mind in this moment. This image is particularly important because it ties Dysart and Alan together; just as Alan literally stood in the dark striking at heads, Dysart is now figuratively doing the same thing.