Jean-Paul Sartre, No Exit

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VIC103Y1: Ideas and Fine Thoughts October 24th, 2011.
A lot of ppl’s faiths were challenged by death camps
If losing faith, then the idea of suicide was an option (intellectually)
Camus worked through his resolution f suicide, coming t the notion of the absurd
Jean-Paul Sartre, No Exit
In no exit we know it is a play set in hell
As representative of Christianity, Sartre’s views are not fair
If you are a believer, Sartre’s starting point is one you make not like to follow
4 Characters:
Introducers everyone to each other
Begins orchestration of the encounters
Joseph Garcin His sins are cowardice and callousness (which caused his young wife to
die "of grief" after his execution). He deserted the army during World War II, and he
blatantly cheated on his wife - he even brings his affairs home and gets her to make them
coffee in bed, without any sympathy. Initially, he hates Inès because she understands his
weakness, and lusts after Estelle because he feels that if she treats him as a man he will
become manly. However, by the end of the play he understands that because Inès
understands the meaning of cowardice and wickedness, only absolution at her hands can
redeem him (if indeed redemption is possible).
Inès Serrano Inès is the second character to enter the room. A lesbian postal clerk, her
sin is turning a wife against her husband, twisting the wife's perception of her spouse and
the subsequent murder of the man (who is Inès' cousin). Indeed, Inès seems to be the only
character who understands the power of opinion, manipulating Estelle's and Garcin's
opinions of themselves and of each other throughout the play. She is the only character
who is honest about the evil deeds she, Garcin, and Estelle have done. She commonly
acknowledges the fact that she is a cruel person.
Estelle Rigault Estelle is a high-society woman, a blonde who married her husband for
his money and had an affair with a younger man. To her, the affair is merely an
insignificant fling, whereas her lover becomes emotionally attached to her and she bears
an illegitimate child. She drowns the illegitimate child by throwing it into the lake, which
drives her lover to commit suicide. Throughout the play she makes advances towards
Garcin, seeKing to define herself as a woman in relation to a man. Her sins are deceit and
murder (which also motivated a suicide). She lusts over "manly men", which Garcin
himself strives to be.
Each character is not true to others or even to own conception to themselves
Failure to take responsibility
Part of this interaction has to do w/ Sartre’s theory of…
Sartre interested w/ dynamics of looKing through perception
One of tricks in play is that he removes the mirrors
Only place you can see yourself is in someone’s eyes
VIC103Y1: Ideas and Fine Thoughts October 24th, 2011.
Sartre is saying yourself is in some sense in the eye of the other, however it can be
Look is defining
Sartre is trying to introduce the complexity of human relationships and the
complexity of objectifying ppl
Sartre believes you should confront your mortalityfact that nothing lives
A photon has no age
Relationship b/w time, how one experience life and after life are questions
surrounding extracentralism
Main concept of play is freedom
Sartre has radical view of freedom, what you are born w/, natural attribute of
Even when you’re locked up in prison, where he knows your ability to act is
restrained, you still have freedom in conscious
The Flies
The flies, aka the furies, are everywhere in the city, representing repentance
Based on a Greek play
Based on myth primarily of the aftermath of the death of
Who was a King, Agamemnon, and he had kids and his wife, Clytemnestra, killed
His kids were Orestes and Electra
The boy is taken away when he is born and it starts when he is 15 years old and
he comes back to the city
Wife gets herself a new King
Classic play was interested in justiceshould justice be revenge?
Tragedy, but there has to be some evening of the scores
Sartre wants freedom to be the central theme, rewriting the play, as seen in No
Zeus is King of Goodness, has magic tricks
Sartre views all Gods as theoretically slightly ridiculous
Zeus will not have power in the end of the play because he will be juxtaposed to
Orestes is a traveler
Orestes comes to town and sees it is in shambles, flies everywhere, everyone is
wearing blackmourning of King Agamemnon
Town is in some ways burdened w/ guilt because they have not acted out against
new King
Orestes lifts guilt of citizens: kills his mother and the king and his acceptance of
reasonability for doing it
He murders them to free citizens of guilt
In taking on guilt of others he does not destroy his own authenticity
VIC103Y1: Ideas and Fine Thoughts October 24th, 2011.
Play rewriting the tragic Greek drama, sets it on the question of freedom as
oppose to justice
However it is not a perfect success
Zeus rids town of friesmiracle
Question of guilt and resentment come from German philosophy
Guilt may lead you to inaction but if you resent the other you may have a diff
politic, which may lead to violence
Sartre’s Later Life
After war, Sartre’s career switches form inactivity to very active support of
communist party, Stalinism, and Maoist fractions