Jean Paul Sartre No Exit Symbolism Essay

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Hell -- very abstract in nature -- is usually very vaguely defined. This is because the term finds itself stemming from a plethora of different individuals, cultures, and even religions. Even with all these different sources however; in most cases there is usually a strong correlation when it comes to the types of imagery associated with hell. It is usually described as a place of torture devices, darkness, and flames. Likewise in the play No Exit, the author Jean-Paul Sartre has his own interpretation of hell. Set in a drawing room with second empire furniture, Sartre coins hell as not a place one is put in, but rather, the people one is surrounded by. He does this by employing the concept of sight, through both a literal and figurative style to effectively define this culture of hell by means of three deceased individuals; Joseph Garcin, Inez Serrano, and Estelle Rigault, all being punished in hell for their sins. Throughout the entirety of the play, sight is utilized to showcase that the inability to see oneself, the…show more content…
Although all of the aspects in relation to the characters pertain to sight, they each nonetheless serve an explicit function in defining Sartre’s hell. The absence of mirrors and its effect on Estelle is used to signify that the incapacity to see oneself has the potential to be synonymous to hell. While the usage of Garcin’s atrophied eyelids symbolizes the inability of the characters to escape hell, there is no exit. Alongside this Sartre solidifies the idea of hell being other people as showcased by the fact that something as simple as the confirmation of one’s presence can validate this ideology as seen through the incident with Inez. Thus in conclusion although sight is used in excession, Sartre’s use of it serves as an effectual technique to explicitly visualize his culture of hell for the imagination of the
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