No Exit

is Garcin a coward? why or why not?

from the book NO NO EXIT

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Garcin's greatest fear is fear itself, to borrow the cliché. That is to say, he is tormented by the idea that he may be a coward. Ironically, in the play's beginning, he seems quite the opposite of a coward: he strolls into the drawing room with his chin held high and casually asks where the torture instruments are, as if it were all a game. Gradually, as the play wears on, he loses his defenses; he is stripped bare, so to speak, and reveals his insecurities. The question, however, remains: is Garcin a coward? Was his attempt to flee to Mexico a cowardly act? Sartre, who publicly opposed many a war, certainly might have sympathized with Garcin's pacifist leanings. However, we are left wondering to what extent Garcin's political and moral convictions mask a deeper weakness? And why, exactly, did Garcin choose to flee rather than to expound on his principles at home, where they might have made a difference?