by Jean-Paul Sartre
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: Mere chance? Then it's by chance this room is furnished as we see it. It's an accident that the sofa on the right is a livid green, and that one on the left's wine-red. Mere chance? Well, just try to shift the sofas and you'll see the difference quick enough. And that statue on the mantelpiece, do you think it's there by accident? And what about the heat here? How about that? I tell you they've thought it all out. Down to the last detail. Nothing was left to chance. This room was all set for us. (160)
Is Inez right? Are these specific furnishings essential to Inez, Garcin, and Estelle? Is the specific organization of the room essential to the play? If so, why?
ESTELLE: I'm – quite recent. Yesterday. As a matter of act, the ceremony's not quite over. [Her tone is natural enough, but she seems to be seeing what she describes.] The wind's blowing my sister's veil all over the place. She's trying her best to cry. Come, dear! Make another effort. That's better. Two tears, two little tears are twinkling under the black veil. Oh dear! What a sight Olga looks this morning! She's holding my sister's arm, helping her along. (112)
This is a great example of the set of "rules" Sartre establishes regarding his version of hell. Estelle is the first character to look back and witness a scene on earth, and these stage directions let us know how such a vision "works" in this world.
GARCIN: That woman was a born martyr, you know; a victim by vocation. (272)
Garcin uses this description twice in describing his wife. Not only is avoiding the personal responsibility he should take for the way he treated her, but he’s also confining her to a specific role and purpose - that of victim - rather than seeing her as a whole person.