by Jean-Paul Sartre
No Exit Theme of Power
In No Exit, the greatest power an individual holds over another is that of "the look." In Sartre’s existentialism, the presence of other people is disturbing to an individual because their gaze has the power to reduce that individual to an object. Eyes, then, are weapons in this play, while looks and judgments are ammo. The ability to define others through gazes and opinions becomes a way to control and possess.
Questions About Power
- Garcin torments Estelle; Estelle torments Inez; Inez torments Garcin. Which character has the most power over his/her tormentee?
- Is Inez more interested in Estelle sexually, or with controlling Estelle’s subjectivity? According to Sartre, is there a difference?
- What is the relationship between sex or desire and power in No Exit?
Chew on This
When it comes to power, typical gender roles are reversed in No Exit.