by Jean-Paul Sartre
The Flies Man and the Natural World 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.
I was the King's and the Queen's underlinen. And how dirty it is, all covered with spots and stains! Yes, I have to wash everything they wear next to their skin, the shifts they wrap their rotting bodies in, the nightdresses Clytemnestra has on when the King shares her bed. I shut my eyes and scrub with all my might. (1.1.122)
Hamlet, anyone? Compare this to the "rank sweat of an enseamed bed" line from Shakespeare's play. The Flies has a clear connection to Hamlet. The son questions whether or not to murder the man who killed his father and is now sleeping with his mother. Check out the Shmoop Guide on Hamlet for more on Shakespeare's hero's dilemma. Sartre treats this idea differently, however, as his focus is on personal freedom, not on justice or madness or moral obligation.
You're good-looking, too. (1.1.137)
The physical similarities between Electra and her brother are meant to reflect their blood relation. These physical commonalities also render the two women similar in their youth and innocence; both stand apart from the ugly, guilt-ravaged citizens of Argos.
Millions of staring, hopeless eyes are brooding darkly on your faces and your gestures. They can see us, read our hearts, and we are naked in the presence of the dead. Ah, that makes you squirm; it burns and sears you, that stern, calm gaze unchanging as the gaze of eyes remembered. (2.1.52)
This passage refers to Sartre's idea of 'the other" and the way that a gaze reduces a person to a mere object. This is the focus of Sartre's play – No Exit. Check it out on Shmoop.