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No Exit - Hell

Uploaded by Chiharu_Romano on Apr 16, 2000

Hell. The four lettered word that trembles in the throats of men and children alike; The images of suffering, flame pits and blood, the smell of burning flesh, the shrieking of those who have fallen from grace. For centuries man has sought out ways to cleanse his soul, to repent for his sins and possibly secure his passage into paradise, all evoked by the fear of eternal damnation and pain. The early 20th century philosopher and existentialist writer Jean-Paul Sartre saw life as an endless realm of suffering and a complete void of nothingness. His pessimistic ideals of life followed through to his beliefs on death, as death for him was a final nothingness. If death was a final nothingness, Sartre's view of hell was really a final statement on life. Jean-Paul Sartre's depiction of hell in the play No Exit reflects his belief on humanity and society. No Exit's hell is embodied in a single room, decorated in Second Empire style furnishings. The surroundings seem more comforting than the traditional conception of hell, as the ones illustrated in Dante's inferno or even the bible. However, from an existentialist's point of view, the setting in itself is rather hellish, as its lavishness is overwhelmingly superficial and superficiality is rejected in existentialist belief. As existentialists believe that human life is lived in suffering, sin, guilt and anxiety, anything superficial is a foolish and naive way of denying despair. In a sense, Sartre's hell exists for him not in the supernatural world, but in reality. Therefore his hell is just a contained example of real life. In order to be rejected from heaven and sent to hell, one must sin. Common in all religions, sin exists almost as a written law. For Christians it exists in the Ten Commandments, the seven deadly sins. For Buddhists, it is the crimes against karma. Sartre, however, does not address what prerequisites his hell contains. By conventional standards, its seems that his characters rightfully deserve to be placed in hell. While Estelle's hands were tarnished with the murder of her own baby, both Garcin and Inez are indirectly responsible for the death of those close to them. For Sartre, all three characters are pathetic examples of humankind. Believing that human beings can never hope to understand why they are here,...

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Uploaded by:   Chiharu_Romano

Date:   04/16/2000

Category:   Literature

Length:   4 pages (826 words)

Views:   1680

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