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No Exit and Three Other Plays Paperback – International Edition, October 23, 1989

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No Exit and Three Other Plays + The Stranger + The Myth of Sisyphus: And Other Essays
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 275 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reissue edition (October 23, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679725164
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679725169
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,601 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English
Original Language: French

From the Inside Flap

4 plays about an existential portrayal of Hell, the reworking of the Electra-Orestes story, the conflict of a young intellectual torn between theory and conflict and an arresting attack on American racism.

More About the Author

Novelist, playwright, and biographer Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-80) is widely considered one of the greatest philosophers of the twentieth century. His major works include "No Exit," "Nausea," "The Wall," "The Age of Reason," "Critique of Dialectical Reason," "Being and Nothingness," and "Roads to Freedom," an allegory of man's search for commitment, and not, as the man at the off-licence says, an everyday story of French country folk.

Customer Reviews

There are some key points about this play that make it most interesting for me.
Not only the best plays I've ever read in my entire life, but Sartre has easily made his way into the top five works I've ever read.
A. J. Veneman
When I was reading the play, I frequently had to put the book down and think for a while about what I had just read.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

142 of 150 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
No Exit (Huis Clos), is a one-act, four-character play written by Jean-Paul Sartre, French philosopher, writer, literary critic, social and political activist and leader (with Albert Camus) of the existential movement based in Paris.
No Exit, first produced one month before D-Day in 1944, was the second of Sartre's many plays. Translated literally, Huis Clos, means "closed doors."
This play represents a tight conflict of characters who need one another and, at the same time, desperately want to get away from one another, yet cannot leave. There is no other modern play that offers such a profound metaphor for the human condition. One would have to go back to Doctor Faustus or The Bacchae to encounter such a metaphor, and in the present day, only Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest can rival No Exit in its existential metaphor of the human condition.
In No Exit, three characters are doomed to spend eternity together in a Second Empire drawing room; Sartre's metaphorical hell. This room is devoid of mirrors, windows and books. There is no means of extinguishing the lights and the characters have even lost their eyelids. They have nothing left but one another and the hell (or heaven) they choose to create.
The three characters who come to inhabit the room are Joseph Garcin, a war defector and wife abuser; Inez Serrano, a working-class Spanish woman, who is slowly revealed to be a lesbian; and Estelle Rigault, a member of the French upper class. Sartre brilliantly gives the characters dual reasons for their eternal damnation: first, each committed abominable acts while alive, and second, and perhaps more importantly, each failed to live his or her life in an authentic manner.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Laura Pope on May 3, 2004
Format: Paperback
I was a bit skeptical going into this one. The premise of the book is fairly simple: three strangers are locked into a single room with minimal furniture and expected to stay there with one another for all eternity. That's it. No violent overthrow of government, no breaking into an elaborate computer mainframe. So why bother reading? C'mon Sartre, show us some plot.
The amazing thing was, I completely enjoyed this play. I gave it a chance and read it through and was not at all disappointed. Think of it: three strangers walk into a room containing three couches, a mantle, an odd mantle decoration, and a door that won't open, and try to make sense of the whole setup.
The female/male ratio is 2 to 1, leaving Garcin to hold his own against Inez, a trouble-making bisexual, and Estelle, a woman who doesn't believe she can function without the support of a man. They realize that the room is their torture chamber, of sorts, in a long corridor of Hell, and their punishment is to be carried out through--are you ready?--annoying one another.
For fear of giving away the plot, or lack thereof, I'll leave you with this: the book is a must-read, if only to discover for yourself the awesome ability of human beings to torture one another using only their personalities. :o)
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Murray Tong (ag909@hwcn.org) on May 10, 1999
Format: Paperback
These four plays by Sartre are all very different in style if not tone, but they all cut to the bone of meaning in delivering their sobering messages. The best play is also the most famous, No Exit, filled with brilliant language and dramatic fire. The situations and questions posed within aspeak directly to our age. Next, The Respectful Prostitute, which shows how funny existentialists can be, and how gut-wrenching comedy can be both funny and chilling. The Flies is a wonderfully inventive play that one can picture just by reading, with its harsh words, though in the guise of classical language, never missing a stab at the characters--or the audience. The weakest play, Dirty Hands, is still a compelling but rather cliched drama which is a little too ponderous for theatre, but dead on with its analysis of the human condition. Overall, a very worthwhile collection and a great introduction to Sartre, and existentialism.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Peter M. Ackarey on October 12, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is an answer to a question many people have been avoiding all their lives. And when you finally develop the ability to ask it to yourself, Sartre provides his suggested answer for you, though it may not be the answer you wanted.

The premise of the main play, "No Exit", is that many people have chosen to exist in misery, even when the exit to that misery presents itself clearly. For these people, there is "no exit". Their existance is defined by their misery. If they make the concious decision to exit, then they have nothing to live for.

All four plays are written in non-pretentious and easy to understand styles, unlike many philisophical writings. They don't require a great deal of effort to read or understand. In fact, they are quite enjoyable and I found myself reading each play many times before moving on to the next one.

Don't expect to feel uplifted about the state of humanity while reading these plays, however. Sartre's message about human existance can be a dismal one. It is quite helpful, though, to come to terms with the fact that many of our fellow humans are just puzzled about their lives, and sharing a social existance with these people can be precarious to your own search for meaning.
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