Analysis Of Jean-Paul Sartre's No Exit

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Psychological suffering versus physical torture is one of the central themes in No Exit by French playwright Jean-Paul Sartre. Sartre’s famous quote that “hell is other people” (45) is illustrated through the interactions among Garcin, Inez and Estelle. Through psychological suffering the characters’ self-destructive flaws are revealed which ultimately emphasizes how each of them are responsible for their own fate. The characters have the freedom of will to help redeem each other but choose not to. To subtly reinforce this theme, Sartre uses the setting of a locked room and the furnishings that cannot be moved to symbolize eternal suffering and the stare of the characters to judge and torment each other. Garcin arrives first in hell, and he is expecting physical torture, but soon realizes that his personal hell is about psychological torture. Garcin asks the Valet “[w]here are the instruments of torture . . . the racks and red-hot pincers?” (4). He slowly begins to experience the small irritating details…show more content…
She says “you’ve no right to inflict the sight of your fear on me” (9). Actually, the characters do become each other’s mirrors, and they are each other’s torturers. When Estelle arrives, she complains about the garish colors on the sofas in the room, which bother her. The details add up to layers of irritation that will drive the characters mad over time. Garcin is horrified by the prospect of being constantly observed by Inez and Estelle. Garcin asks: “You will always see me?” Inez responds: “Always” (45.) Garcin suggests that each person should stare at the carpet and forget about the others. Inez responds: “How utterly absurd! I feel you there, in every pore. Your silence clamors in my ears… [You’re] everywhere, and every sound comes to me soiled, because you’ve intercepted it . . .”
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