No Exit

No Exit Essay Questions

  1. 1

    Is Garcin a coward? Why or why not?

  2. 2

    "That's just it. I haven't a notion, not the foggiest. In fact, I'm wondering if there hasn't been some ghastly mistake. Don't smile. Just think of the number of people who - who become absentees every day. There must be thousands and thousands, and probably they're sorted out by - by understrappers, you know what I mean. Stupid employees who don't know their job. So they're bound to make mistakes sometimes..."

    Analyse the passage in light of Sartre's existentialism. Ask yourself the fundamental question: are the characters assembled by mistake? In other words, is it chance that has brought them together?

  3. 3

    Examine the masculine-feminine dynamic in the play. What does Sartre seem to be saying about the battle of the sexes? Is it even important that Inez and Estelle are women, and Garcin a man? Is Sartre's argument gender-based or gender-neutral?

  4. 4

    Why does Garcin refuse to leave when the door opens? Compare this moment to the stasis that is at the heart of Beckett's Waiting for Godot, where the two men keep saying they will leave and never do.

  5. 5

    Estelle cannot bear the absence of mirrors in the room. Discuss the idea that hell might be the inability to see oneself.

  6. 6

    Examine the ways in which Inez's sexuality drives the narrative and offers a king of commentary on the other characters. What does Sartre have to say in regard to homosexual versus heterosexual desire?

  7. 7

    Analyze the play's title. Be sure to consider the original French: Huis Clos.

  8. 8

    Does No Exit offer hope? Can the play's implications be reconciled with Sartre's later attempts to propose a more humanist form of existentialism?

  9. 9

    Compare No Exit and Endgame. In what ways is Beckett's vision similar to Sartre's, and in what ways does it differ?

  10. 10

    All three characters are able, at certain points, to "watch" the world of the living. Analyze the underlying patters and the ways in which one character's vision differs from another's.