No Exit
No Exit
by Jean-Paul Sartre
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No Exit Theme of Freedom and Confinement

As one of Sartre’s existentialist works, No Exit expectedly explores the idea of radical personal freedom. Man is free to do anything he wants, as long as he is willing to accept the consequences. With this freedom comes a similarly radical personal responsibility; man must own up to his actions and deal with the fall-out. In No Exit, three characters trapped in hell are forced to come to terms with this concept. Garcin, Inez and Estelle react in a variety of ways, from accepting the painful anguish of freedom to fleeing from freedom in bad faith.

Questions About Freedom and Confinement

  1. What is keeping these three individuals in hell? Does the answer to this question change over the course of the play?
  2. What part does the valet play in restraining Garcin and the others from leaving?
  3. Meanwhile, what keeps the valet confined to hell? Do we know enough information to answer this question?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Garcin makes progress towards existentialist values and moves away from bad faith throughout the course of No Exit.

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Previous Page: Philosophical Viewpoints: Existentialism

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