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The Flies

The Flies

by Jean-Paul Sartre

Philosophical Viewpoints: Existentialism Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #4

ZEUS
Everyone wears black? Ah, I see. You're in mourning for your murdered King.
OLD WOMAN
Whisht! For God's sake, don't talk of that. (1.1.48-9)

This is an example of Sartre's "bad faith." The people of Argos may be repenting, but they are in denial of the very crime they claim to regret.

Quote #5

ZEUS
Yes, you're quite old enough to have heard those huge cries that echoed and re-echoed for a whole morning in the city streets. What did you do about it?
OLD WOMAN
What could I do, a woman alone? I bolted my door. (1.1.50-1)

And yet, according to Sartre, she too is responsible for the murder – if only for failing to try and stop it.

Quote #6

ORESTES
Then these blood-smeared walls […] and all those half-human creatures beating their breasts in darkened rooms, and those shrieks […] – can it be that Zeus and his Olympians delight in these? (1.1.67)

The citizens of Argos are described as "creatures" because they fail to live as Sartre believes human beings should live. In other words, Sartre would claim that the Argives are avoiding being-for-itself, the being of fully conscious people. In this way, they are not embracing their humanity.

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