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The Flies

The Flies


by Jean-Paul Sartre

Analysis: Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Christopher Booker is a scholar who wrote that every story falls into one of seven basic plot structures: Overcoming the Monster, Rags to Riches, the Quest, Voyage and Return, Comedy, Tragedy, and Rebirth. Shmoop explores which of these structures fits this story like Cinderella’s slipper.

Plot Type : The Quest

The Call

The Call happens before the play starts.

We'll admit that The Flies isn't exactly a classic quest tale. So if you want to try and fit it to the classic quest plot, you've got to take some liberties. The "journey" that Orestes takes brings him from his home to the land of Argos – both his decision to travel (the call) and the traveling itself happen before the play begins. The action begins with his arrival in Argos.

The Journey

Like we said…

This happens before we join the action.

Arrival and Frustration

Orestes is horrified at what he finds in Argos.

His people are miserable and mentally enslaved. The gods are unjust and obsessed with keeping the mortals miserable. His mother's sleeping with the enemy and his sister is a maid in her own palace. Orestes is not a happy camper.

The Final Ordeals

Orestes's has an epiphany.

This is where the hero is tested and forced to prove himself. For Orestes, these are ideological tests, and he passes them at the end of Act II, Scene i when he resolves to choose his own path and take the burden of freedom heavily upon his shoulders.

The Goal

Orestes becomes a new man.

Orestes's "thrilling escape" isn't from death so much as it is from bad faith. He escapes from self-deception, passivity, and being-for-others. He experiences a sense of renewal and even re-birth, which he describes in detail in the play's third act.

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