November 5, 2008
No Exit from Self-Deception
In Sartre’s No Exit, three people who have just died are brought into a room that is meant to resemble Hell. As they arrive in this simple room each person expects to see a torturer. Instead, they see each other and make the assumption that the other is the torturer, while this notion seems to be a mistake at first, by the end of the play it turns out that the torturers are in fact themselves.
Garcin, a journalist from Rio, is the first to enter Hell. Shortly after the valet leaves Inez enters and is almost immediately annoyed by Garcin. She says that Garcin keeps moving his mouth and that it’s impolite. Garcin, unable to see himself, as there are no mirrors in Hell, listens to Inez and obeys her. This is the first place Garcin is seen as an example of Bad Faith. Garcin unlike Inez is unable to define himself by himself and relies on others to identify him. Closer to the end of the play Garcin reveals the true nature of his death after lying about it and tries to convince Inez that his death was not a cowardly one, saying that he wasn’t given enough time on earth to justify his death. After begging Inez to tell him that he isn’t a coward she can’t tell him what he wants to hear and Garcin suffers. Garcin’s self-deception lies in his need of assurance from other people. Inez, unlike Garcin, sees her faults and accepts her fate as a “damned bitch”, as all three of them admit to having dishonest affairs. Garcin and Inez are the same in that they both can’t define themselves without the assurance of something outside of themselves, Bad Faith. Estelle is constantly searching for a mirror in Hell, in order to prove her existence, and unable to find one asks Inez to be her mirror. Again a character is shown relying on others to prove themselves. Inez suggests that she should know that she exist based on her mind and thoughts, not her body, a manifestation of the mind....