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The Flies

The Flies


by Jean-Paul Sartre

The Flies Freedom and Confinement Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Scene.Line). Every time a character talks counts as one line, even if what they say turns into a long monologue. We used the translation by S. Gilbert found in No Exit and Three Other Plays, published by Vintage Books in 1989.

Quote #1

Squeals of terror everywhere, people who panic the moment they set on eyes on you, and scurry to cover, like black beetles, down the glaring streets. (1.1.2)

Right away the people of Argos are depicted as sub-human. They've been stripped of their humanity because they're not facing their freedom, that which makes them human.

Quote #2

What could I do, a woman alone? I bolted my door.
Yes, but you left your window not quite closed, so as to hear the better, and, while you peeped behind the curtains and held your breath, you felt a little tingling itch between your loins, and didn't you enjoy it! (1.1.51-2)

According to Zeus's logic, the woman is responsible for taking enjoyment in the crime. In this way she, too, is at fault.

Quote #3

Some say he's still alive. The story goes that the men ordered to kill the child had pity on him and left him in the forest. (1.1.75)

In fact, this was a common ancient Greek practice. Abandoning a child in the wild instead of murdering him meant that the guilty party could blame the gods instead of themselves for the child's death. (If he died of exposure, it was because the gods didn't intervene to prevent it.) This is a great example of Sartre's bad faith, the self-denial manifested in the refusal to accept responsibility for one's actions.

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