Review of No Exit in the

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Publisher: Gale, part of Cengage Group
Document Type: Critical essay
Length: 908 words

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No Exit (Biltmore Theater) is the English version of a phenomenally successful French play by Jean-Paul Sartre, high priest of existentialism. The scene is hell, the running time only a little over an hour and a quarter, and the total effect that of a rather ingenious shocker of a sort which would not have been out of place on the program at the Grand Guignol a generation ago. Three people—a Lesbian, a male collaborationist, and an American playgirl who murdered her child—find themselves after death shut up together in a hotel room. They enter at once upon a brief cycle of disputation in the course of which each manages to torture the other; then, as the cycle begins to repeat itself exactly, the curtain goes down. The three, it is evident, will pass eternity going over the same painful ground again, and again, and again. Since they will never sleep, hell, as one of them says, is merely life with no time off.

Of existentialism I know only what I read in the papers—including The Nation. It is, I have been told on various occasions, the theology of Kirkegaard with God left out; the conviction that though the world is both evil and without meaning nothing much can be done about it; and, finally, the determination to reject society while acting as an atomic individual. So far...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|H1420021477