Sartre’s existentialism makes frequent use of the term "bad faith." At its core, bad faith means self-deception. According to the existentialist, man is both radically free to act and radically responsible for those actions. This freedom is a scary thought, so people often pretend it’s not there – they deceive themselves and enter into bad faith. Bad faith takes all forms, but in No Exit it involves not owning up to one’s actions, not admitting the possibility of one’s own freedom, willingness to become an object in the eyes of another, and confining the self (or others) to social roles.
Questions About Lies and Deceit
- When Garcin asks Estelle to trust him, she responds that they will never leave each other’s sight, and therefore trust isn’t an issue. But he replies that he’s thinking of "another kind of trust" (435). What is he referring to?
- Which character has the worst case of bad faith in No Exit?
- Why is Inez so upset when she looks back to earth and sees that her room is being rented to someone else?
Chew on This
Though she appears to be Sartre’s voice in No Exit, Inez is actually in a permanent state of bad faith.