What would your Hell be like? Devils, flames, deep red and hot? No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre shows exactly what his metaphorical hell would be like. It combines the philosophies of existentialism with dramatic irony to create a Hell in the eyes of Sartre. In this work he places three characters in Hell where they are doomed to spend eternity together, each as the others torturer. Through the twisted story of these three people, Sartre’s views of existentialism are shown.
In order to find existentialism in No Exit, one must first understand the philosophy of existentialism. Jean-Paul Sartre is well-known for his writings that include his existential views. Existentialism includes the belief that we all create our own meaning of life and things in general, we are responsible for what we make of ourselves, and that existence precedes essence. Existentialism sees the possibility for the two states of being: being in self or for self (Lein). Sartre incorporatred existentialism into many of his writings but the existential views are most clear in No Exit.
Now that the philosophies of existentialism are explained, the characters must be introduced. In No Exit, there are three characters who are very different. First, we are introduced to Joseph Garcin, a war defector; Inez Serrano, a working class lesbian; and Estelle Renault, a member of the French upper class (Lein). Throughout the story, all the characters become entwined in a twisted relationship with eachother. Through these relationships, we slowly find how each character come to spend eternity in Hell. Sartre gave each character reasons for being in Hell. The first reason is that each character committed horrible acts while alive. Garcin abused his wife and slept with another woman; Inez stole her cousin’s wife, who later killed herself and Inez; and Estelle drowned her baby fathered by a secret lover who then committed suicide. None of the characters believed their action...
EXISTENTIALISM | Existentialism: Existentialism in no exit
No Exit Theme of Philosophical Viewpoints: Existentialism
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