No Exit Essay – Sartre
- Pages: 3
- Word count: 627
- Category: Philosophy
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In No Exit the alienation of the characters from their environments is essential for the expression of existentialist ideas. Throughout the play, Sarte exposes existentialist values to his audience. He could not have done this more understandably and perceptibly for his audience since he lifts three characters of different backgrounds that people can identify with out of their usual environments. Sartre managed to express existentialist ideas by lifting his main characters out of their usual environments and bring them together, so that a philosophical Hell is created.
By lifting characters out of their usual environments and reassign them with different persons, the differences in values become clear. In Sartre’s No Exit three completely different persons are forced together in a boring, almost empty room. As there is nothing else to do, they soon start talking to one other. At this point, the differences between them became visible. Inez is a working class lesbian woman, and as she speaks sh uses tough language. She refers to herself as a ‘damned bitch’ and to the three of them as ‘deads’. Estelle, an upper-class wealthy lady, however insists on calling themselves ‘absentees’ rather than ‘deads’.
Then thirdly, Garcin, a journalist from Rio de Janairo does not want to talk at all. He wants rest and time to sort out the life he used to have, which one of the ladies claims to have done already. These differences between the three main characters and their conflicting values continue throughout the whole play. The reason why those differences are endless are the characters’ ultimately distinct backgrounds. They come from different places, are used to different cultures, used to have different jobs and had different experiences in their lives. For this reason they developed different values and beliefs which are conflicting now that they are placed together with nothing else but themselves and each other.
The conflict of the character’s values create Hell for all three of them. Even though, the characters literally dwell in Hell, the environment is not the reason for this Hell to be a dreadful place. The real torture are the conflicts occurring due to the differences in values. The characters therefore are each others torturers. Since there are no windows, neither mirrors, there is no escape from each other and the conflicts described in the last paragraph continue endlessly. Those conflicts create Hell because the characters do not understand or sympathize with each other. If one of them calls them ‘deads’ which she regards normal, another is offended. Moreover, Garcin is deceiving himself and the women by trying to convince them that he came in this ‘Hell’ by accident. However, Inez is not easily convinced, which makes Garcin want to convince her even more. In this way, Inez is Garcins torturer. What we know as Hell, a dreadful torturing place, is now within the characters rather than surrounding them.
The ‘Hell’ that Sartre created can only be escaped by existentialist values. The main thought of existentialism is that one has freedom of choices but takes responsibility for the effects. Clearly, Garcin does not do this as he tries to deny belonging in Hell. On the other hand, Inez is true to herself and the others. Existentialism stands for trusting yourself, your choices and your judgements. In the end of the play Garcin begs to be released from the room and then suddenly the door opens. He could now flee, but instead of trusting his judgements he stays in order to convince Inez. Had he been more existentialist, he could have fled from Hell.
All in all, Sartre managed to create the ultimate image of existentialism which the could only do by alienation of his characters and thereby creating this psychological Hell.