No Exit Isolation 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.
ESTELLE: You looked so – so far away. Sorry I disturbed you.
GARCIN: I was setting my life in order. You may laugh but you'd do better to follow my example. (132)
What exactly is Garcin hoping to accomplish with all this solitary time?
ESTELLE: Are my lips all right?
INEZ: Show! No, they're a bit smudgy.
ESTELLE: I thought as much. Luckily [throws a quick glance at Garcin] no one's seen me. I'll try again. (228-30)
Garcin is "no one" for Estelle because, at the moment, he has his head buried in his hands. He’s not looking at her, so in her mind, he doesn’t count.
INEZ: When I say I'm cruel, I mean I can't get on without making people suffer. Like a live coal. A live coal in others' hearts. When I'm alone I flicker out. (299)
The characters are as much tormented by their need for company as they are tormented by the company itself. There is a tension between wanting to take another’s subjectivity and freedom from them, and being afraid to lose your own freedom and subjectivity by exposing yourself.