No Exit Freedom and Confinement Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (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 International in 1989.
INEZ: Oh, I don't count? Is that what you think? But, my poor little fallen nestling, you've been sheltering in my heart for ages, though you didn't realize it. Don't be afraid; I'll keep looking at you for ever and ever, without a flutter of my eyelids, and you'll live in my gaze like a mote in a sunbeam. (396)
This passage sends us back to Garcin’s initial observation that the valet doesn’t blink. The lack of respite he discussed earlier doesn’t refer to the eyes of the observer, rather to the observed who suffers under his unblinking gaze.
GARCIN: Anything, anything would be better than this agony of mind, this creeping pain that gnaws and fumbles and caresses one and never hurts quite enough. Now will you open? [The door flies open: a long silence]
INEZ: Well, Garcin? You're free to go.
GARCIN: [Meditatively] Now I wonder why that door opened.
INEZ: What are you waiting for? Hurry up and go.
GARCIN: I shall not go. (500-4)
Shortly after this Garcin explains why he’s decided to stay – to convince Inez of his courage. But how is it he changed his mind in the two seconds between his banging on the door and it flying open? Could it be he has some other motive for remaining in hell?
GARCIN: A man is what he wills himself to be. (524)
Garcin is essentially confined by his own misconceptions. He can’t get past these problematic ideas.