No Exit
By Jean-Paul Sartre

No Exit is a play about three souls trapped in Hell who find that they are to torture each other for all eternity in a never-ending circle. The characters; sadistic lesbian Inez, socialite and baby-killer Estelle, and Garcin the war-deserter chase each other around a Second-Empire drawing room - an existential version of Hell.


To forget about the others? How utterly absurd! I feel you there, in every pore. Your silence clamors in my ears. You can nail up your mouth, cut your tongue out - but you can't prevent your being there. Can you stop your thoughts? I hear them ticking away like a clock, tick-tock, tick-tock, and I'm certain you hear mine. It's all very well skulking on your sofa, but you're everywhere, and every sound comes to me soiled, because you've intercepted it on its way. Why, you've even stolen my face; you know it and I don't! And what about her, about Estelle? You've stolen her from me too; if she and I were alone do you suppose she'd treat me as she does? No, take your hands from your face, I won't leave you in peace - that would suit your book too well. You'd go on sitting there, in a sort of trance, like a yogi, and even if I didn't see her I'd feel lit in my bones - that she was making every sound, even the rustle of her dress, for your benefit, throwing you smiles you didn't see... Well, I won't stand for that, I prefer to choose my hell; I prefer to look you in the eyes and fight it out face to face.


Well, what are you waiting for? Do as you're told. What a lovely scene: coward Garcin holding baby-killer Estelle in his manly arms! Make your stakes, everyone. Will coward Garcin kiss the lady, or won't he dare? What's the betting? I'm watching you, everybody's watching, I'm a crowd all by myself. Do you hear the crowd? Do you hear them muttering, Garcin? Mumbling and muttering. "Coward! Coward! Coward! Coward!" - that's what they're saying... It's no use trying to escape, I'll never let you go. What do you hope to get from her silly lips? Forgetfulness? But I shan't forget you, not I! "It's I you must convince." So come to me. I'm waiting. Come along, now... Look, how obedient he is, like a well-trained dog who comes when his mistress calls. You can't hold him, and you never will.

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