Nathan's Reviews > No Exit and Three Other Plays

No Exit and Three Other Plays by Jean-Paul Sartre
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Mar 24, 2016

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"Hell is--other people"

I only read the title play of this book, so I can't comment on the other three. But "No Exit" is an intriguing perspective on hell written through Sartre's existentialist pen

Three people who don't otherwise know each other find themselves locked together in a single room. They reach some startling conclusions as they explore their afterlife:

"In short, there's someone absent here, the official torturer.... It's obvious what they're after--an economy of man-power--or devil power, if you prefer.... [E]ach of us will act as torturer of the two others."

This idea initially ridiculous to them gradually plays itself realized, to unbearable ends.

"Open the door!" says one. "Open, blast you! I'll endure anything, your red-hot tongs and molten lead.... I'll put up with any torture you impose. Anything, anything would be better than this agony of mind, this creeping pain that gnaws and fumbles and caresses one and never hurts quite enough."

The play is based on nothing but the musings of Sartre's mind. Still, this alone makes it worth reading.

I would be glad to see this piece acted on stage.
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