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Sartrean Quotes : The Condemned of Altona

Jean-Paul Sartre. The Condemned of Altona. Trans. Sylvia and George Leeson. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1961.


Johanna: You believe neither in God nor the Devil.
Leni: That's true. But we go to Church, and we swear on the Bible. I've already told you - this family has no longer any justification for living, but it has kept its good habits. [8]

Father: If you want to command, think of yourself as someone else. [11]

Johanna: I am not beautiful, is that clear?
Father: If you aren't, who is?
Johanna: No one. There are only ugly women in disguise. I will not disguise myself anymore. [55]

Johanna: Because they are true. Madmen often speak the truth, Werner.
Werner: Really? Which truth?
Johanna: There's only one: THE HORROR OF LIVING. I can't stand it. I can't stand it. I prefer to lie to myself. [115]

Franz: You do nothing but lie. Generously, virtuously, like a good little soldier. Only you lie very badly. To lie well, you have to be a lie yourself. That's what I am. You, you're true. When I look at you, I know that truth exists and that it's not on my side. [131]


Werner: Oh, Father, not once in your life have you trusted me. You thrust me at the head of the firm because I am your sole male heir, but you first made sure of turning me into an ornament. [11]

Franz: The first thoughts that are born are his. Do you know why? He created me in his image - unless he has become what he created. [80]

Johanna: What does that prove? It's of your own choosing.
Franz: Mine? But I never choose my dear. I AM CHOSEN. Nine months before my birth they had chosen my name, my career, my character, and my fate! [84]

Franz: It takes all kinds to make a world. You're using me. When you show your feelings, it's because it suits your plans. I say you're using me. [168]

Johanna: There are many ways of holding a man prisoner. The best is to get him to imprison himself.
Leni: How does one do that?
Johanna: By lying to him. [20]

Father: But never fear, the only cure to his illness is the truth. [107]


Father: Death for me is now merely a continuation of my life without me. [25]

Franz: He who does not of all does nothing. I did nothing. He who does nothing is nobody. [148]

Father: Both your life and your death are merely nothing. You are nothing, you do nothing, you have done nothing, and you can do nothing. [171]

Franz: Yes. The ruins gave me my justification; I loved our looted houses, our mutilated children. I pretend that I was locking myself up so that I should not witness Germany's agony. It's a lie. I wanted my country to die, and I shut myself so that I should not be a witness to its resurrection. [165]


Franz: Will you take your eyes off me? [68]

Voice of Franz: The century might have been a good one had not man been watched from time immemorial by the cruel enemy who had sworn to destroy him, that hairless, evil, flesh-eating beast - man himself… Oh tribunal of the night -you who were, who will be, and who are - I have been! I have been! I, Franz von Gerlach, here in this room, have taken the century upon my shoulders and have said: "I will answer for it. This day and forever." [177-8]

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