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No Exit Character Analysis by Sartre - Huis Clos by Jean-Paul Sartre (Character Analysis of the existentialist play)

Updated on March 3, 2013

Character Analysis of the play Huis Clos/No Exit


Analysis of Garcin

At the beginning, Garcin depicts himself as an honourable man, who has died for his values in war. He was a pacifistic journalist and stood up to his beliefs.

In fact, Garcin was lying all the time. He was nothing more than a coward who was driven by his fear of dying. He left his country, but at the border he was shot. He even lies right at the beginning of the play. The valet brings him to his room and asks him whether he is nervous or frightened or not. Garcin denies, but he acts really nervous. He asks the valet many questions and they talk about unimportant things. In the second scene, he walks around the room quite nervously and nearly freaks out when he presses the bell.

Garcin also has sadistic traits. He has tortured his wife mentally for years due to his resulting inferiority complexes. He had a lover and his wife had to welcome her. And not only did she have to do this, she also had to bring breakfast to them, while they were together in bed.

Garcin also flees from the reality and does not want it to be true. He was a coward and nettler. Inez constantly destroys his lies and presents him his true person. Garcin becomes angry and becomes verbally active and also physically. He does not hit her, though. But he raises his hand and nearly does.

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Analysis of Estelle

Estelle also introduces her with a lie. She tells the other two that she lived with her little brother and that they were very poor. So, she married a richer man in order to ensure a living for them. Later, she found the love of her life and went away with him. She had a miscarriage and her lover could not cope with the loss and comitted suicide. She returned to her husband and nursed him, because he became very ill.

In fact, she has killed her baby and her lover saw that and could not bear anymore what he saw. This makes Estelle to a cheater and to a child murderer.

Estelle is also very superficial. She does not think deeply and feelings and the inner life of a person are non-sense to her. Her superficiality appears also in her style of speech, her clothes, taste and social classes. For example, she does not like the word "dead" which Inez uses. She prefers the word "absent", because "dead" is too vulgar for her.

Estelle's insincerity is another important trait of her character. She felt herself forced to marry the rich man. And when she found the love of her life, she thought that she had no other choice than to cheat on her husband and to elope with her lover. She felt "forced", but she only lies to herself. She always had the choice whether to marry the rich man or not etc.

She also does not feel responsible for the death of her baby and the resulting suicide of her lover.

Likewise, Estelle also flees from reality. She does not want it to have it real that they are all dead now and in hell. She and Garcin tell themselves lies, but Inez destroys these lies (or fantasies) every time. Estelle hates Inez for doing this, because she is right and Estelle even tries to kill Inez with a paper knife. Of course, this is bound to fail, because they are already dead, which is the ultimate proof for Estelle.

L'enfer, c'est les Autres - Jean-Paul Sartre


Analysis of Inez

Inez has already been damned when she was on earth. She is a lesbian and back then, this was not as much tolerated as it is today. Inez tells her true story right from the beginning. She was in love with her cousin's wife and killed her cousin. Anywhen, the woman could not bear it and she turned on the gas and both of them died in sleep.

That's why Inez seems to be invincible at the beginning. She does not lie to anyone and always controls the situation. This allows her to manipulate certain circumstances between Garcin and Estelle.

She is also the first one to realize the situation. They are in hell, in an infernal trio and are damned to torture themselves forever.

Inez has one weak point. She desires Estelle. She also makes several ambiguous hints. Sadly, she will never have success in seducing Estelle. Estelle is not homosexual and she desires Garcin. In addition, she disgusts Inez, anyway.


Cheater, Child murderer
intelligent, manipulative
had inferiority complexes
"apparently" invincible
flees from reality
flees from reality
faces reality

Movie/Film: Huis Clos/No Exit (full in English)

Copyright © 2013 by mbyL a.k.a. Slaven Cvijetic. All rights reserved.
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