Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “No Exit” as Want to Read:
No Exit
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

No Exit

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  24,096 ratings  ·  1,021 reviews
Jean-Paul Sartre, the great French existentialist, displays his mastery of drama in NO EXIT, an unforgettable portrayal of hell.
The play is a depiction of the afterlife in which three deceased characters are punished by being locked into a room together for all eternity. It is the source of Sartre's especially famous and often misinterpreted quotation "L'enfer, c'est les
...more
Paperback, 60 pages
Published December 8th 2010 by Samuel French, Inc. (first published 1944)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

Hamlet by William ShakespeareMacbeth by William ShakespeareThe Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar WildeRomeo and Juliet by William ShakespeareWaiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
Best Plays Ever
730 books — 1,135 voters
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-ExupéryLes Misérables by Victor HugoThe Stranger by Albert CamusThe Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre DumasMadame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
Best French Literature
777 books — 1,426 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  24,096 ratings  ·  1,021 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of No Exit
Steven Godin
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The mere abstraction of 'forever' makes me shiver, but throw in that word 'hell', and the heat starts to rise to an unprecedented level, whether bliss or burning to be subjected to anything forever, with no foreseeable or even imaginable end is almost impossible to comprehend. I would promptly take living multiple lives briefly, than a single one indefinitely. As reality outside of any timeline doesn't seem to carry with it any kind of need for initiative, for good nor evil.

"Hm! So here we
...more
Fergus
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
I DON’T CARE WHAT THEY SAY
I WON’T STAY
IN A WORLD WITHOUT LOVE!
- Peter & Gordon, 1963

But what if you didn’t have a CHOICE?

So says Jean-Paul Sartre in this play that is so close to the bone - and so close to theological orthodoxy - that we’re actually AMAZED to find it’s written by an atheist.

Three people, together for all Eternity. Three pathologically angry, anti-social people.

And this is their shared Hell.

Their forever home.

And you know what else? Forever after, they “can‘t get no
...more
JV (semi-hiatus)
A single room with Second Empire furniture (no mirrors, no windows, three sofas, one paper knife, lights that won't go off), and no torturer. Accompanied by a mysterious valet, three incredulous characters (Inez Serrano, Estelle Rigault, and Joseph Garci) are escorted inside and are eternally locked away within its walls. At first, no one wants to admit what each has committed to deserve this damnation, but as the play progresses, they confess their crimes — their deepest, darkest secrets ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
huis clos = No Exit, Jean-Paul Sartre
No Exit (French: Huis Clos) is a 1944 existentialist French play by Jean-Paul Sartre. The original title is the French equivalent of the legal term in camera, referring to a private discussion behind closed doors. The play was first performed at the Théâtre du Vieux-Colombier in May 1944. The play begins with three characters who find themselves waiting in a mysterious room. It is a depiction of the afterlife in which three deceased characters are punished by
...more
Forrest
Dec 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
As a function of pure entertainment, Sartre's No Exit is brilliant. Ironically, Sartre uses almost-pure dialogue to "show not tell" the dilemma faced by Garcin, Inez, and Estelle, three "absentees" (a euphemism for "the dead") locked into a room, condemned to be together for eternity. Each has arrived here for different reasons, but all three possess qualities that bring out the worst in the others. Rather than the traditional hellish tropes of horned demons and hell-fire, this play evokes more ...more
Sidharth Vardhan
Two is Company, Three is Hell

Oh my sweet Satan! this is one hell of a play. This definitely is scariest vision of inferno, and the vision is just too simple:

"You re-member all we were told about the torture-chambers, the fire and brimstone, the "burning marl." Old wives' tales! There's no need for red-hot pokers. Hell is—other people!"


And who can be better torturer than brains behind holocausts and Abu-Gharibs?

“As for me, I am mean: that means that I need the suffering of others to exist.
...more
Petra-X
One day, aged nearly 16 I was an observant, Orthodox Jew. I enjoyed the ritual, I enjoyed the scholarship, I submerged myself in the study of Rashi, the Ramban, Talmud and Torah and boys. Then I read Iron in the Soul and the next day I had started to think for myself. I've been an existentialist ever since. (view spoiler)
Vipassana
Jun 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy, plays, fiction
Hell is other people!

That statement is beyond doubt the most famous of Satre's. However, it is only after one is acquainted with No Exit does one realise how grossly misinterpreted that statement is. In the context of this play, the statement is not misanthropic. It highlights a symptom of the condition that is life. Perhaps this quote, where Estelle peers into the eyes of Inez for the lack of a mirror, characterizes Satre's iconic quote better.

Your scare me rather. My reflection in the glass
...more
Brian Yahn
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
The gist of No Exit is this: three people are put in a room. The interesting thing about the room is, it's Hell. And what's really interesting about Hell is -- there's no torture devices, no devouring flames, it's just a trio of insufferable people left to themselves.

The premise is pretty genius. The setting, a Second Empire drawing room, a tastelessly opulent room basically panders to me. It seems like Jean-Paul Sartre is using the setting as a statement, to say something is wrong with the
...more
Nazish
Mar 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This play gave me a wonderful idea for my next photography project and another view of hell. Every time I pick up something by existentialist authors, I’m reminded of how much they closely border upon my thoughts on life. The play centers around three characters who are trapped in a room after being dead for several hours and begin conversing about each other’s idea of why they’ve landed there which they think is essentially the hell. They bicker, fight and hate each other and we come to see how ...more
Olivia Thomas
We've often heard the cliche "Hell is other people", but no one has ever taken the saying more literally than Jean-Paul Sartre in 'No Exit'. The play opens on Garcin, a man damned for eternity. He is lead to a plain room with no mirrors or beds, only three couches and poor decorating. Like the two women that arrive after him, Inez and Estelle, he wonders why there are no torturing devices in Hell as expected. However, once the three start in conversation, they realize that they have been chosen ...more
Gary Inbinder
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
L'enfer, c'est les autres" or "Hell is other people. Imagine being locked in a small room for eternity with a group of people you don't like and/or who don't like you. Is that hell? Maybe. It certainly wouldn't be fun. But there's more to it than that. Do we exist without other people? Do they objectify us? Do they define us? Are we just characters in someone else's play? At least it's a point of departure for a discussion.

Prashasti
Jul 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
"Hell is other people."
A perfectly depicted Existential hell by none other than Sartre, the Father of the existentialist philosophy himself!
Czarny Pies
No Exit (Huis Clos in French) delivers existentialism in a nutshell. "Hell is the others." id est - You are not accountable to God who does not exist, but you are accountable to those people affected by your actions.

No Exit stages well even by amateurs. I saw a performance by undergraduate French Lit students at the University of Toronto that was powerful. Theatre needs more support than it gets. Take in a performance.

I hope that Professors teaching French Lit to Anglophone undergraduates will
...more
Jonfaith
Jun 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Quite similar in tone and temper to his collection The Wall, No Exit successfully burrowed itself into the collective unconscious: likely tens of millions of people have never heard of Jean-Paul Sartre but have heard the notion that Hell—is other people. Quite enjoyable and never didactic.

Comparing this with the plays by Leroi Jones I have to say that everyone appears overzealous to throw themselves into another’s arms. I’m also all about questioning a big event such as a race war or eternal
...more
Shai
Mar 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read No Exit in English and French and saw the play while studying in France. In par with Sartre's idea of freedom, we create heaven and hell today, in this life on earth, by other's judgments of our acts. "Hell is the other", the phrase encapsulating heaven and hell, I found quite to the point. The 'other's' eyes pierce into my head, judging and shaping who I am, which I must escape, through my freedom to choose. No Exit is a simple and yet powerful play, which defined Petan's (northeren) ...more
Sumirti Singaravel
"One always dies too soon—or too late. And yet one's whole life is complete at that moment[of death], with a line drawn neatly under it, ready for the summing up. You are—your life and nothing else."


This is my first book by Jean-Paul Sartre and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The play in its entirety is based on the basic assertion of Sartre that "existence precedes essence". Each of the characters is complete in their development and is perfectly complementing to the central theme. I wonder how
...more
Lauren
Hell may very well be a room where you will spend eternity with grating and self-absorbed people, all while sitting atop uncomfortable "Second Empire" furniture.



This was pretty great. I haven't read a play in some time - quite a bit of Greek tragedy as an undergrad, and then the requisite Shakespeare and some Miller back in high school.

This was very different in style - funny, absurd, and thought-provoking - and I quite enjoyed it.

--

Read for Book Riot's 2016 Read Harder Challenge - a play
Sarah
Sep 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I read this mostly because it inspired my favorite Twilight Zone episode. (Guess!)

Genius. That's all I have to say.

And whoever wrote all over this library book actually provided some insight. So…thank you? I guess?
Manohar Lal Solanki
Feb 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Jean-Paul Sartre, an existensialst, a philosopher, a novelist etc. His idea of hell is very much similar to the idea of Shakespeare. Shakespeare has quoted once, " All the devils of hell are on the earth". This novel goes on the same bottom line where he depicts a picture of hell, in which he shows three peoples who dies, and then they enters the hell. There were two ladies and one man. All the three peoples were kept in a same room. There was nothing else in the room except few paintings. There ...more
Sohaib
Nov 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: drama, 2016-reads
“Blinking, we call it. It’s like a small black shutter that clicks down and makes a break. Everything goes black; one’s eyes are moistened. You can’t imagine how restful, refreshing, it is. Four thousand little rests per hour. Four thousand little respites—just think!”

And here it is ladies and gentlemen: the theater of the absurd, the surreal, in which characters linger in a dream state only to reflect our own fickle and ungrounded reality.

We can’t appreciate the little things in life like “
...more
Arman
Mar 15, 2017 rated it liked it
I liked the concept, I liked the idea, I like a philosophical play, but literary speaking, this could be way more exciting if it was written by Albert Camus. I totally agree with the key line_HELL IS OTHER PEOPLE, but the writing wasn't breathtaking. I wish it was.
Also the characters were kind of boring. They could have been different people and their dialogues could have made the reader produce more 'wow's and 'dammit's. I cannot help thinking this play is an unfulfilled idea, written by
...more
Lavinia
Mar 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011, plays
Brilliant! The hell as we have probably never imagined it. Perhaps the first piece of existentialist writing that didn't literally give me a headache. Really, something to get back to every now and then.
Lyn
Aug 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
I read this in HS and still think of this sometimes in reference to people's relationships and group dynamics. Probably need to visit No Exit again.
Pallavi Sareen
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favourites
When I say I'm cruel, I mean I can't get on without making people suffer. Like a live coal. A live coal in others' hearts. When I'm alone I flicker out.

I have different ways of looking at this play than the usual 'Hell is other people'.
Okay that's one aspect of it. But it's also, giving the people what they desire all the time.
Inez needs to be cruel to others to exist. That's what she does. So here she is forever stuck in that room and must stay cruel, for it IS hell and that is Who she is
...more
Walter Schutjens
A very daunting read. Three "absentees" acting as a euphemism for the dead are trapped in a room together in what is deemed the most brutal form of torture in hell - confronting the perpetual ontological struggle to see oneself as an object in the world of another consciousness (people). As the characters confront their fate and thereby dispel their sins in the material world, the prospect of an infinite mutual scrutiny dawns on them all.
Time plays no object as they are to confront the ultimate
...more
Tukunjil Nayeera
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
HELL IS OTHER PEOPLE!!


This book is a portrayal of hell by Mr. Sartre and he did a wonderful job!

I don't know how to put my thought in words.. this book leaves a hole inside me.. I feel utterly empty yet so full of emotion!

GARCIN: How about you? Aren't you afraid?
INEZ: What would be the use? There was some point in being afraid before, while one still had hope.

So, where there's a fear, there's a hope!

Now, what is hell like??
They said, hell is eternal fire, everlasting punishment, eternal
...more
Morgan
Jan 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Reread this play tonight and my opinion hasn't changed. I liked this a lot when I first read in college for an existentialism class. I like the characters and I like the concept. It's a quick play to read too.
Jennifer
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
"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."
4.5 stars. This has got to be the most elegant little play I've ever read. Three people are in hell together - they're locked in a comfortably furnished room that's just slightly too hot, there are no mirrors, and they can't sleep. Their punishment is that, even though they all have conflicting pet peeves and
...more
Shardallinee


I've read this play some years ago in highschool for the first time. Even then I thought it a masterpiece. Mostly, because at the end of the story you do not close the covers and put the book back on a shelf, then forget all about it and move on with your life. No, it makes you think. Is there an afterlife? Is there a heaven and hell? And what would it look like?...

J.P.Sartre's portrayal of hell is the one that got to me most. Hell is other people? It couldn't be worst to be put inside an
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Exploring Existen...: Oh, the humanity 4 35 Sep 15, 2015 08:07AM  
No Exit Discussion Topic 2 62 Sep 21, 2012 02:43PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Waiting for Godot
  • Endgame
  • The Metamorphosis
  • The Stranger
  • Rhinocéros
  • The Fall
  • The Myth of Sisyphus
  • Six Characters in Search of an Author
  • The Plague
  • Happy Days
  • La Cantatrice chauve
  • Notes from Underground
  • Veliki briljantni valček
  • A Doll's House
  • سوء تفاهم
  • Ghosts
  • Salomé
  • The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays
See similar books…
7,384 followers
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
...more
“I'm going to smile, and my smile will sink down into your pupils, and heaven knows what it will become.” 2186 likes
“Hell is—other people!” 1963 likes
More quotes…