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Glenn, J. (1974). Anthony and Peter Shaffer's Plays: The Influence of Twin ship on Creativity. Am. Imago, 31(3):270-292.

(1974). American Imago, 31(3):270-292

Anthony and Peter Shaffer's Plays: The Influence of Twin ship on Creativity

Jules Glenn, M.D.

In “Twins in Disguise: A Psychoanalytic Essay on Sleuth and The Royal Hunt of the Sun” (1974a) and in “Twins in Disguise II: Content, Form and Style in Plays by Anthony and Peter Shaffer” (1974b) I demonstrated that the protagonists of many plays by the twin playwrights, Anthony and Peter Shaffer, manifest the personality characteristics of twins, even though these characters are not manifestly twins. In addition, I showed how the form and, to a very limited extent, the style of the play could be determined by twinship. The plays I studied were Anthony Shaffer's Sleuth (1970) and Frenzy (1972) and Peter Shaffer's The Royal Hunt of the Sun (1964), Black Comedy (1965), White Lies (1967a) The White Liars (1967b) The Public Eye (1962b and 1972) and The Private Ear (1962a).

In this paper, I will examine Peter Shaffer's latest play, Equus (1973) and confirm that the two main characters interact like and display the traits of twins. Then I will describe and analyze White Lies, The White Liars and The Public Eye. Finally, I will enter a more speculative realm. I will examine the characteristics of twins that could determine their creativity. And I will offer hypotheses on how the presence of disguised twins in these plays appeals to the audience, how it enhances the aesthetic experience.

First, we must set the stage by reviewing the personality configurations that analysts have discovered in twins. (Arlow 1960, Joseph 1961, Glenn 1966, Glenn and Glenn 1968)

A twin, growing up extremely close to another person of similar appearance who is going through the same developmental phases at the same time, is prone to certain specific traits and fantasies.

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