by Jean-Paul Sartre
The Flies Philosophical Viewpoints: Existentialism 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.
Everyone wears black? Ah, I see. You're in mourning for your murdered King.
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.
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?
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.
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.