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The Flies

The Flies


by Jean-Paul Sartre

The Flies Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. Given everything you've learned about Sartre's existentialism from reading The Flies and Shmoop's thoughts on the play, which political system best fits the author's philosophy? (If it makes you feel any better, know that Sartre himself spent his whole lifetime trying to answer this question and never actually could.)
  2. Spend some time examining the other three works based on the Electra myth – Sophocles' Electra, Aeschylus's Oresteia, and Euripides's Electra. What changes does Sartre make to the classic tale, and how do these changes suit his purposes in exploring his existential ideas?
  3. Does it matter that Clytemnestra is killed off stage in Act II? Why don't we get to see her murder? What effect does this have on the way we interpret her death?
  4. Think about the way The Flies is structured; how does Sartre break down Orestes's transformation in his three acts? What's going on with the dual scenes in Act II?
  5. For Sartre, Orestes is a hero despite murdering his mother in cold blood. Can audiences today be won over so easily by an existentialist hero? Or are we inclined to morally condemn Orestes for his actions?

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