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Hell and Enslavement in Sartres No Exit

Hell and Enslavement. In Sartre’s No Exit
Sartre, the most famous of the existentialist thinkers, wrote No Exit in 1944.It wasfirst performed in Paris during the Nazi occupation. Sartre was a POW during the occupation, but escaped punishment from the Nazis. There is obviously an overall question pertaining to the play in terms of its relation to the historical period and the atrocities that were taking place in France and all of Europe. Sartre obviously knew of the racist ideology and actions the Nazis were imposing on the world. Therefore, his play is at some level be a reflection of the troubled times in which he lived. The occupying Nazis forces enslaved his nation. Did France feel like a nation that was going to Hell? Did individuals feel that they lived in Hell? This is one of the many themes found in Sartre’s play. Perhaps this is this what Sartre’s play is about? In Sartre’s play, No Exit, there is never any indication that these people are actually in Hell. The characters themselves identify with the space that holds them prisoners.For example, when Inez says,
INEZ: Yes, we are criminals– murderers– all three of us. We’re in hell, my pets; they never make mistakes, and people aren’t damned for nothing.
Sartre’s existentialist point in this frightening play is a simple one: the people, who inhabit Hell, create Hell. The Valet who leads our three characters into their Second Empire drawing room never once says they’re in Hell. He laughs at Garcin’s cynical reference to the toothbrush, acknowledging that its companion is dead, but never does the Valet say that they are actually in hell. The interaction between the three people creates a hellish situation. Again, Inez says this quite clearly:
INEZ: … Yes, now’s the moment; I’m looking at this thing on the mantelpiece, and I understand that I’m in hell. I tell you, everything’s been thought

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