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Compare and contract the views of society presented in Equus and the time machine - Essay Example

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Instructor Date The Dangers of Conformity to Society’s Norms Society is key in shaping the beliefs and norms of man. However, such beliefs and norms are so stifling that free existence is compromised, and those that deviants are viewed as abnormal and unbalanced…
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Compare and contract the views of society presented in Equus and the time machine
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Download file to see previous pages This will be illustrated by excerpts from H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine and Peter Shaffer’s Equus. This essay will focus on two aspects of social conformity namely; normalcy and entropy. The works of both writers portray a vision of a troubled future if man continues to dwell within the societal confines that propagate passivity while ignoring pressing issues such as social class splits and individual passion. Normalcy refers to what the society considers the right aspects of behavior. Passivity means inactive or submission to the will of others. In Equus, Dysart is considered normal as he rarely strays outside of societal boundaries. He is married, has no children, and has a good education and profession that places him in a high social class. However, he feels that his life is dull with no spiritual communication. His marriage lacks intimacy as illustrated by his admission that he has not kissed his wife for six years. Disillusioned with modern civilization and unhappy with his role in it, he turns to Greek civilization for spiritual comfort. This highlights the internal conflict that most people have. In conforming to society’s belief of what is considered normal, one loses their individualism and passion, causing misery in their lives. In contrast, his patient, Alan, seems full of passion and vigor. Alan goes against the societal indoctrination to conceive the idea of a god that differs from the traditional Christianity. This is propagated by the conflicting views on religion of his parents. His mother is a staunch Christian who read him the bible daily and taught him that the sexual act was dirty. His father was an atheist and a strict disciplinarian that could not even allow him to watch television because he believes that it takes away one’s intelligence and concentration. Both parents are products of social norm, which requires them to exist in a world without passion and worship. As a result, Alan conceives a horse god, Equus, with which he freely expresses his passionate worship and sexuality. He compares the horsegod to Jesus when he says, “I see you, I will save you.” (66). This adoration hits its climax when he blinds six horses. As a result, he is declared unbalanced and in pain and sent to Dysart to heal his mind. This violence brings out the conflict between the two myths: the pagan worship he created, and the Christian one he inherited which saddled him with guilt and shame concerning his sexuality. The eyes are symbolic of society’s checks on its members, constantly judging and punishing. By striking the eyes, Alan fights the society that has oppressed him. Thus, society forces blind obedience and individuals are forced to suppress their desires. Even though most people are aware of this consequence and are dissatisfied with their miserable existence, they lack the commitment to change their lives. Dysart feels that by removing one’s uniqueness he is destroying part of their personality, but ultimately strips Alan of what he desires most. Normalcy and passivity are also evident in The Time Machine. The social disparity between the leisurely wealthy upper class and the working class was considered normal, especially in the Victorian England. The rich exploited the workers for profits to finance their passive lifestyle as portrayed by the laziness in the dinner guests in chapter one, who meet to dine and chat. The time traveler belongs to the upper class. This passivity is also evident among the Eloi (upper ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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