Sartrean Quotes : No Exit
Jean-Paul Sartre. No Exit, Four Contemporary French Plays. Trans. Stuart Gilbert. New York: Random House, 1967.
Inez: Remember you're not alone; you've got no right to inflict the sight of your fear on me. 
Inez: I'll keep looking at you forever and ever, without a flutter of my eyelids, and you'll love in my gaze like a mote in a sunbeam. 
Inez: Very well, have it your own way. I'm the weaker party, one against two. But don't forget I'm here, and watching. I shan't take my eyes off you, Garcin! When you're kissing her, you'll feel them boring into you. 
The SITUATION IN HELL
Garcin: There's no more hope - but it's still "before." We haven't yet begun to suffer. 
Garcin: To help me. It only needs a little effort, Inez. Just a spark of human feeling.
Inez: Human feeling. That's beyond my range. I'm rotten to the core. 
Estelle: I suggest we call ourselves - wait! - absentees. Have you been - been absent for long? 
Garcin: But they won't forget me, not they! They'll die, but others will come after them to carry on the legend. I've left my fate in their hands. 
Garcin: So this is hell. I'd never have believed it. You remember all we were told about the torture-chambers, the fire and brimstone, the "burning marl." Old wive's tales! There's no need for red-hot pokers. HELL IS - OTHER PEOPLE! 
Estelle: We've got to take what comes to us. 
Estelle: I feel so queer. Don't you ever get taken that way? When I can't see myself I begin to wonder if I really and truly exist. I pat myself just to be sure, but it doesn't help much.
Inez: You're lucky. I'm always conscious of myself in my mind. Painfully conscious. 
Inez: ….Blacked out. I can't see or hear a thing. So I'm done with the earth, it seems. No more alibis for me (she shudders). I feel so empty, desiccated - really dead at last. All of me's here, in this room. 
Estelle: He belonged to me.
Inez: Nothing on earth belongs to you anymore.
Estelle: I tell you he was mine. All mine.
Inez: Yes, he WAS yours- once…Nothing whatever. Nothing of you's left on earth - not even a shadow. All you own is here. 
Inez: One always dies too soon -or too late. And yet one's whole life is complete at that moment, with a line drawn neatly under it, ready for the summing up. You are - YOUR LIFE, and nothing else. 
Inez: You can nail up your mouth, cut your tongue out - but you can't prevent your being there… I prefer to choose my hell; I prefer to look you in the eyes and fight it out face to face. 
Estelle: How can I say? Don't be so unreasonable, darling. I can't put myself in your skin. You must decide for yourself.
Garcin: (wearily) I can't decide.
Estelle: Anyhow, you must remember, you must have had reasons for acting as you did. 
Garcin: …I made my choice deliberately. A man is what he wills himself to be. 
AUTHENTICITY in Hell
Inez: Look here! What's the point of play-acting, trying to throw dust in each other's eyes? We're all tarred with the same brush.
Estelle: How dare you!
Inez: Yes, we are all criminals - murderers - all three of us. We're in hell, my pets; they never make mistakes and people are not damned for nothing. 
Garcin: why not? We might, anyhow, be natural… Do you know, I used to be mad about women? And some were fond of me. So we may as well stop posing, we've nothing to lose. Why trouble about politeness, and decorum, and the rest of it? We're between ourselves. And presently we shall be naked as - as newborn babes. 
Garcin: …We're chasing after each other, round and round in a vicious circle, like the horses on a merry-go-round. That's part of their plan, of course…Drop it, Inez. Open your hands and let go of everything. 
Garcin: But I wanted to show my colors. My true colors, do you understand? 
Inez: …So carry on, Mr. Garcin, and try to be honest with yourself - for once.
Garcin: …My death will settle it. If I face death courageously, I'll prove I'm no coward. 
[Go back to the Sartrean Quotes]
[Go back to the Main Page]