Equus Symbols, Allegory and Motifs


To Alan, Equus himself is a symbol, representing God and Christ. While under hypnosis, Alan compares Equus to Jesus, and says that, just like Jesus, he wears chains for the sins of humanity. 

The Photograph

The picture of a white horse hanging in Alan's bedroom took the exact place of a religious painting depicting Jesus suffering, which is evidence that this photograph represents an icon of religious worship to Alan. He chants in front of it as one would chant in front of an altar or a cross. 


Eyes, vision, and seeing are all motifs in this play. This motif was set from the very beginning, since rather than injuring the horses in the stable in any other way, Alan chose to blind them by stabbing out their eyes. Jill talks about how she prefers the eyes of boys over any other body part, and Alan spends much of his time staring into horses' eyes. The eyes provide greater insight into these creatures than anything else, which allows Alan to make a special connection with them; however, it ends up being too much to bear when Equus claims that he will always see Alan, no matter what he is doing. 

The Bit

A horse's bit, along with the rest of the chains that bind him, symbolize the quelling of freedom. Freedom is extremely important to Alan, who feels confined by his own life; he has sworn to set these horses free from the sins of humanity, and he does this every night when he takes Nugget out of the stables, removes his chains, rides him, and sexually climaxes. 

The Stable

Though no different from other stables, Dalton's stable is a holy shrine for Alan, akin to a church or a temple in other religions. This holy place is the dwelling of Equus, and he cannot bear to desecrate it by forsaking his deep connection with his god and sleeping with Jill inside of it.