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No Exit

No Exit

by Jean-Paul Sartre

Suffering Theme

No Exit maintains that mental anguish is worse than physical torment. The play focuses on three individuals trapped in hell together. No torture devices or red-hot flames are needed, as the play concludes that hell is simply other people. Suffering surfaces in a variety of ways: from mutual teasing, prodding, and baiting, to a more philosophical brand of torture (one in which the gaze of other people reduces an individual to the state of an object).

Questions About Suffering

  1. Which sin lands each character in hell? Does the punishment fit the crime? Does Sartre care? Why or why not?
  2. Who controls what the three characters are seeing back on earth?
  3. According to Garcin, why is he in hell? According to Sartre, why is Garcin in hell?
  4. Which character suffers the most in No Exit?

Chew on This

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

The valet is the only character in No Exit who does not suffer.

The valet suffers more than any of the main characters in No Exit.

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