No Exit, and Three Other Plays
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No Exit, and Three Other Plays

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  20,475 ratings  ·  554 reviews
For use in schools and libraries only. English translations of four plays which dramatize the theme of man's responsibility for his own actions, by the leader of French existentialism.
Hardcover, 275 pages
Published October 1st 1989 by Turtleback Books (first published 1949)
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Manny
Hell is other people. It's a terrific piece of theatre. Though every time I read this play - I have unfortunately never seen it performed - it occurs to me that, logically, heaven should be other people too, and that Sartre is perhaps taking an unjustifiably gloomy view.

There is an incident in Huis Clos where one of the characters offers another one her eyes to use as a mirror. (There are no mirrors in Hell). I have wondered several times whether the Velvet Underground's track "I'll be your mir...more
Cassandra Kay Silva
I am surprised no one said much about the piece "Dirty Hands" since it was terribly interesting and took up a great deal of this book. Though I love No exit and think that the punch line was both clever and well developed I think that Dirty Hands was by far a more enjoyable work. It was extremely clever, the wit was harsh. The characters manipulative and yet humorously negatable. The deep political messages, the thoughts surrounding "purity of political ideals". For some reason I can just better...more
Madeline
A brief one-act that seems much longer than it really is. Alternately horrible and funny, it's Sartre's take on Hell, which can be described as such: a small hotel room with no windows or mirrors, a door that is usually locked, and three couches. Three people - Garcin, Ines, and Estelle - are all brought to this room by what I can only guess is a bellboy. (I read this in French, so forgive any factual errors that I missed as a reult of that) Everyone keeps asking, "Where's the torturer?" because...more
Leonard
“Hell is other people.” What if hell is not an inferno but being trapped in a room with people who judge and condemn you? In Sartre’s play No Exit, three condemned souls must stay with each other for all eternity, watching, condemning, torturing one another. Garcin seeks understanding from Inez for deserting the army but only receives her judgment. Estelle, who killed her newborn baby and caused her lover to commit suicide, seeks Garcin’s affection to define who she is, but only receives his snu...more
Adeline
Jean Paul Sartre uses hell for the setting of his existentially significant work, No Exit. While Sartre is an atheist, he uses a place that is fundamentally connected to Christian beliefs. Yet Sartre's hell is vastly dissimilar to the Christian conception of hell, and makes no reference to a God or Satan. Ultimately, the hell in No Exit serves the same purpose as a Christian hell: to torment and torture. The methods used are different, but the result is the same. In fact, Sartre's hell is more i...more
Emily
On Les mouches

Once, when I was enrolled in a Victorian Literature class in college, reading novel after essay after poem that grieved deeply over the religious upheaval brought on by the scientific breakthroughs of Charles Darwin and others, I asked my professor whether there weren't any 19th-century authors who felt liberated, rather than bereft, by these developments. As a profoundly a-religious person myself, I can try to imagine myself into the position of Arnold, Tennyson, Ruskin, Carlyle a...more
Lucy
The second book I read is No Exit by Jean Paul Satre. I thought this book was really psychological and reminded me of a lot of things. In the book 3 people were brought to this place where there was thing but them. The theme of the book was to be yourself and not let anyone judge you. People do not make who you are, you are yourself. The 3 protagonists were unable to get pass people’s opinions so they were unable to leave. In life I think everyone cares about what others think of them. The only...more
Rachel
I wish I had years and years left of college so I could have fit in all the classes I could dream of. If I did, I would have taken an course in existentialism. Unfortunately it was only ever briefly touched on in one philosophy class, but the brief mention was enough to ignite an interest that I was free to pursue on my own.

I would recommend that anyone who finds comfort in exitentialism, like myself, read NO Exit. The line "Hell is other people" might be one of my favorite mantras.

Why I find i...more
Sergio Frosini
A differenza del pensare comune, io di questa accoppiata di drammi quasi sempre pubblicati insieme ho sempre apprezzato di più "Le Mosche" rispetto all'"Huis Clos" ("A Porte Chiuse") e che invece è il maggiormente rappresentato dei due.
Sarà anche un'ovvia passione per i drammi ellenici, maxime per la sanguinosa sagra degli Atridi, della quale le mosche sartriane sono una delle tante versioni di uno degli episodi, quello che si conclude col matricidio da parte di Oreste (chiamatelo Coefore, Elett...more
Daniel
This is a nice compilation of important plays by Sartre.

No Exit is a nicely accessible work in which Sartre examines the nature of self identity. Three people sent to either purgatory or hell, whichever best fits your idea. It is a clever use of implotment and dialogue to reveal character. Perhaps a bit too obvious, but for drama such is how the point gets across. I found Sartre's attempt to examine ethics interesting. I am not sure when this work was produced relative to Sartre's career, but he...more
Ensiform
Four plays:

"No Exit," translated by S. Gilbert. Three strangers, locked in a room. Can't really say anything about this brilliant allegory without revealing too much. It should be very widely read.

"The Flies," translated by S. Gilbert. A reworking of the Orestes/Electra story. I liked it better than Euripides'. Sartre made the characters multi-faceted and real; he also added Zeus as an adversary of Orestes who feeds on remorse. Orestes' refusing to repudiate his crime, create his own freedom an...more
thewanderingjew
When a friend asked if I had seen the play or the movie based on Sartre's "No Exit", my curiosity was piqued. I searched online and found a version I could read. In this brief one-act play, Sartre illuminates the human condition and the consequences of behavior. Actions often taken lightly, reverberate and leave disaster in their wake. The three main characters are dead. In life, they were each, in their own way, responsible for a tragic ending. They are now in Hell, where they are forced to exp...more
Tom
'Huis Clos' represents something I do not like. In fact, I detest the message that Sartre is conveying in his rather famous play. It is this play that has spawned one of the most misunderstood quotes in literary history, c'est-à-dire "L'enfer, c'est les autres." What we are given by Sartre, is a room that houses three people; the rather tense Garcin, the empty-headed Estelle and Inès, one of the most ridiculously stereotypical lesbian characters I have ever encountered. (Seriously though. It has...more
Eric Jay Sonnenschein
I have a special affection for NO EXIT because, along with THE STRANGER and IRRATIONAL MAN, it was my introduction to existentialism, the very cool "philosophical attitude" that seemed to fit me as well as my Levi 501s.

The ingenious set-up of 3 mismatched people in a stark room, offering no comfort or companionship, but only laying their respective trips on one another seemed to represent most of the relationships I had and saw around me--and I was only in my teens! "Hell is other people" could...more
Carol
More an illustration of Existentialist concepts than a true drama; still the one-act play about 2 women and a man in hell, coming to terms with their own lack of self concept, or their dependency on others for a sense of self is intellectually interesting (and very quick read). Existentialism was always so empowering to me, but in this play, it seems more nihilistic or fatalistic than I recall. And the fact that it takes place in hell, after the three main characters have died, strikes me as mor...more
Diana
I must admit it has been a while since I've read No Exit and I only did so because I took a drama class when completing my English degree not because I loved drama but because it was less work to read a lot of plays vs. a lot of novels (also why I read a lot of poetry). However, I am so happy I did read Sartre because he introduced me to existentialism (and thus gave a name to my hitherto unnamed angst).

I think No Exit is a nice intro to existentialist thought and I often think of the scene wher...more
Madeleine
I read this for "No Exit" and, since it only comprised the first 40-some pages of the collection, felt obligated to try the other three plays that made up the bulk of what I paid for. "No Exit" was pretty damn good, though I'm pissed that someone beat me to publicizing the sentiment that hell is other people simply by virtue of existing before I did.

"The Flies" and "Dirty Hands" were engaging enough but it wasn't until "The Respectful Prostitute" that I felt like this was a four-star effort. It...more
Lesley
If you know nothing about Sartre and want to get a quick peek into his philosophy, Huis Clos (No Exit) is an accessible start. Two women and a man are escorted to a large room which they will share for eternity. Within minutes, it's clear why these three have been thrown together; each has exactly the personality and character flaws designed to drive the other two mad. As we learn about the blighted lives the three have lived and watch them squabble and torment each other, we understand the trut...more
Will Manuel
Three people stuck in a room with bad furniture? That's most of my professional life......
Eric Steere
In the play Huis Clos by Jean-Paul Sartre (translated and named No Exit from the French by Paul Bowles), Hell is depicted as a windowless room. Noticeably absent are the fire and brimstone invocations of hell: there are no thumbscrews, there is no physical torture. However, as the characters are confronted by the existential problematic, torture resides in the deep and dark corners of their own minds. The true nature of their predicament becomes clear: with existence comes the ultimate responsib...more
Imen Hamdouni
"Huis clos"
Dans cette pièce de théâtre, trois parfaits inconnus peuplent l’enfer. Ces trois damnés essayent de se connaitre eux même à travers les images que chacun renvoie de lui-même et des jugements qui en découlent. Dans leur chambre de torture, les colocataires pour l'éternité jouent le rôle de bourreau et de victime à la fois. C’est quand les autres ne partagent pas notre avis, pensent différemment de nous, ne nous disent pas ce que nous avons envie d’entendre, que cette célèbre réplique d...more
Gabrielle
A few weeks back, we were studying the 20th century theatre in English Lit class, and my teacher, I don't really remember why, quoted the first play, saying it was one of the scariest ha had ever read. So, a few days later, I decided to borrow the book at the library.

And, even if there are lots of things we don't agree on, I can give him the fact that he said the truth: Huis clos or No Exit is one of the only books that really scared me. Because it makes us confront the reality of human nature,...more
Steven
I loved all these plays. I confuse Existentialism with nihilism, and assumed that tonally these would be so ultra-bleak and hopeless. They're not. I had also expected No Exit was supposed to be like a Twilight Zone episode where a late surprise come when the characters realize they’re in hell. These were much more character-driven than that.

No Exit: This already demands a re-read. I saw some reviews here that mentioned Inez being a lesbian, which I completely missed when I read it. In a weird wa...more
Barbara R. Saunders
I have read No Exit only in French, as Huis Clos. I loved it, though it may have been the teacher rather than the book!

It examines the ways we use our relationships to bolster our psychological defenses, and the way we respond when relationships fail to serve that purpose. "L'enfer, c'est les autres!"
Colin
c'est une pièce qui vous ensorcelle tout de suite. il y a un sentiment fort d'angoisse qui se mêle à un autre d'humour. j'ai réfléchi, j'ai frémi, je me suis marré -- en fin de compte Huis clos est inoubliable.
Spencer
i dont even remember this book--i just remember not being that impressed. come to think of it, i don't remember half the books on here, but i rate them nonetheless. i shouldn't even be allowed on here.
Mey Akashah
In "No Exit," Sartre envisions hell as an eternity trapped in a badly decorated room with people one cannot stand. In this hell, suffering is boredom, bad conversation, and self doubt. What could be worse?
Frank
Jan 13, 2012 Frank is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
No Exit

Hell is other people. Nice to finally have read the source of that quote. Interesting read, and reminds me I should read more plays as I quite like good dialogue.
Jennifer
Sartre: come for No Exit's brilliant depiction of Hell, stay for The Flies scathing take-down of religious guilt.

Perhaps it's the strength of those first two works that makes the latter half of this collection, including Dirty Hands and The Respectful Prostitute, look so weak; better pieces than those would look wobbly after off the one-two punch of the opening plays. Honestly, you may be better off reading this edition back to front, which would create a bit more of a dramatic build across the...more
Dorian Neerdael
Huis Clos est une bonne mise en scène de la philosophie existentielle de Sartre. C'est là que paraît la fameuse phrase : "L'enfer, c'est les autres".
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1466
Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre, normally known simply as Jean-Paul Sartre, was a French existentialist philosopher and pioneer, dramatist and screenwriter, novelist and critic. He was a leading figure in 20th century French philosophy.

He declined the award of the 1964 Nobel Prize in Literature "for his work which, rich in ideas and filled with the spirit of freedom and the quest for truth, has ex...more
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“Ha! to forget. How childish! I feel you in my bones. Your silence screams in my ears. You may nail your mouth shut, you may cut out your tongue, can you keep yourself from existing? Will you stop your thoughts.” 237 likes
“Man is what he wills himself to be.” 182 likes
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