Jean-Paul Sartre constructs his own version of hell by intertwining themes of sexuality, gender, relations and lust into the play No Exit. Sartre molds an arena of wits, betrayal, guilt, and unrequited passion that restate the theme of “hell is other people”, time and time again during the play. The playwright uses Inez, a homosexual female, as a constant torment towards the character Estelle, by acting as a continuous reminder of her feminine nature and giving her the opposite of what she desires. The writer makes use of Estelle’s feminine charm, by affirming her heterosexual preference regarding Inez, and implying her longing for masculine comfort. The author controls Garcin, an asexual male into acting as a tease towards Estelle and a form of competition for Inez.
Garcin is an ungrateful, asexual male, who confines himself to the lifestyle he lives, and cannot handle the complications that coincide with relationships. Garcin shows no remorse for the fact that he is a “well-beloved brute”, and uses this flair to seduce frangible women and aggravate the more aggressive ones (Sartre 25). He seeks acceptance, and approval from Inez, whom he must “convince [that he is not] a coward”, yet she has a distaste of men, especially those as conniving as Garcin (Sartre 42). Estelle acts with a hint of desperation when it comes to Garcin, and he feeds into her undertaking only because he wants reassurance that he is a “real man”, and worthy of such a respect he doesn’t deserve (Sartre 43).
Inez is a straightforward, tenacious female with a homosexual preference, who repeats her same mistakes even in the afterlife. Inez is a very honest sort, and she openly admits that she was a “damned bitch”, when living on earth (Sartre 25). Garcin gets under Inez’s skin by making her extraordinarily jealous of his connection with Estelle, and the fact that women are “fond of [him], as appose to her (Sartre 23). Inez focuses mostly on Estelle throughout the play, and is tormented by Estelle’s reoccurring dismissal of her offers to “be her glass”, and her “lark-mirror” (Sartre 21).
Estelle has a profoundly feminine personality that brings her heterosexual favoritism out in the open and prompts her celebrity-like desire to be the center of attention at all times. Estelle feels no sympathy or sadness in the fact that she killed her newborn child, and caused her lover to “blow his brains out” for that reason and many others (Sartre 28). Estelle states openly that Inez’s advances towards her frighten her, and that in her opinion, Inez “doesn’t count [because] she is a woman” (Sartre 34). Garcin cannot fulfill Estelle’s fantasy of becoming her one and only love, but this is something she needs, for she cannot be “left alone”, even if it comes to her not speaking (Sartre 41).
Jean-Paul Sartre uses each of the three characters personalities to bring guilt, harm and betrayal upon the remaining two. He brings a new meaning to the quote, “hell is other people”, and uncovers the worst kind of agony in which the pain is all mental, emotional and sight-oriented. The writer touches on such issues as child rearing, homosexuality, and adultery and the complications that go hand-in-hand with each situation. No Exit is a mimetic masterpiece that converts such a biased allegory as hell, into an altered, lurid nightmare come true. The characters develop deep personalities and feed off of each other’s weaknesses, as well as feeding off their strengths. What holds them back more than anything thing else—what prevents them from ascending to the heavens, is their failure to accept the fact that they made mistakes and are unwilling to change. As long as your are alive, and learning for your mistakes, you will be able to continue to grow as a person, unlike the characters in No Exit, and discover in yourself your vigor and disadvantages.
yes i know the last paragraph dragged a little, but what canya do?