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Most often, the periods of respect and temporary alliances between characters are marked by their use of vous with each other, whereas the use of tu is almost always either an attempt at emotional manipulation, or an act of outright cruelty. Take this scene partway through the play, when the other two gang up on Estelle.

Cliffs Notes on Sartre's No Exit and The Flies

They offer their revelations willingly, and are as sympathetic with one another as anyone ever is in this play; throughout their exchange, they use vous with each other. A toi. Qu'est ce que tu as fait? J'ai beau m'interroger Eh bien, on va t'aider.


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INES: Tu le sais fort bien. Garcin's "A toi" in the opening line is a badge of contempt: he's indicating that her refusal to be truthful about her past is costing her any respect he may have had for her. Being addressed as vous is thus associated with the position of power and consent, whereas being called tu is the mark of force, of the act of depriving someone of their essential protective skin. I can't think of any way to pack this kind of meaning into an English translation without adding words that weren't there in the original—having Estelle say "Mr.

To Estelle. And you.


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What is it you did? I've tried to think We'll help you out. That fellow with the smashed face, who is he? INES: You know perfectly well. The one you were so afraid of when you came in.

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INES: Did he kill himself because of you? The workings of tu and vous are explicitly acknowledged in another scene, which also involves the fascinating gender dynamics of the play. She uses tu as part of her sweet-talk toward Estelle and asks the girl to reciprocate. Vous me jurez que c'est bien?

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INES: Tu ne veux pas qu'on se tutoie? INES: Tu es belle. Regarde-moi bien. Je ne suis pas laide non plus. Est-ce que je ne vaux pas mieux qu'un miroir? Vous m'intimidez. Je la connaissais si bien Je vais sourire: mon sourire ira au fond de vos prunelles et Dieu sait ce qu'il va devenir. Elles se regardent. It's so annoying, not being able to judge for myself. Do you swear it looks alright? INES: You don't want to use tu with me? INES: You are beautiful. Do you share my taste? Oh, it's annoying, it's annoying! Look at me. Smile at me. I'm not so ugly either.


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  7. Aren't I better than a mirror? You intimidate me. My reflection in the mirror was tamed. I knew it so well I'm going to smile: my smile will sink to the bottom of your pupils and God knows what it will become. INES: And what's keeping you from taming me? They look at each other. Estelle smiles, slightly fascinated. You really don't want to use tu with me? The power dynamic here is less clear-cut than in the previous scene, but again we see the use of tu as an attempted power play—although Estelle's withholding of tu gives her a certain amount of power as well. But she doesn't count; she's a woman.

    Not that the idea of female invalidity is limited to Estelle, or to women. Sartre acknowledges it as widespread—Garcin, in fact, thinks so little of his wife low-born as well as female that he feels no regret at having casually abused her for years, and neglects to even mention to his fellow-prisoners when she dies. Instead, he obsesses about the opinions his former male colleagues hold of him and of his actions. Given the famed feminism of Sartre's long-term partner Simone de Beauvoir I'm not sure why I was so surprised at the insightful depictions here of the traps of gender, but, like Sartre's use of language, they came as a welcome treat.

    As, despite its darkness, did this entire play.

    The Flies | Samuel French

    After two readings I know it's one I'll be coming back to again and again, especially as I learn more about the larger framework of Sartre's philosophy. I remember I was disappointed with their selection of books in foreign languages, which were strangely mostly in Polish.

    However, I'm glad I did at least find these plays, and they were free, so I certainly got more than I paid for. I didn't know anything about the play Huis clos when I read it, and my ignorance worked to my advantage: it allowed me to experience it in a way that many people, at least passingly familiar with the content of the play, might not have. The reader or audience member is introduced into a situation with limited background information, and the particulars of the scenario are revealed as the play progresses.

    It is a straightforward situation: A man is brought into a room and then a woman and another woman are brought to accompany him. They are to spend some time there together, and they converse. I hesitate to say more than that, because I feel fortunate that I didn't know more myself. It was fun to be thrown into that room along with the first man and only slowly begin to understand why he was there.

    This play also contains one of Sartre's more famous, well-known statements, and I'm glad I know the story behind it now.

    Between the Covers

    Les mouches is a retelling of the story or Orestes and Electra, the children of Agamemnon who seek to avenge his death. In this play, Orestes has grown up in exile from his hometown of Argos, where his father was murdered by Aegisthus when he was a young child.

    He is portrayed as an innocent young man who had a good, happy childhood. However, he doesn't feel that he can continue in the life he's led now that he knows the story of his origins, and he understands that he may soon have the opportunity to step into his true identity as the son of a murdered king.

    He has been wandering from city to city with his tutor, and when he arrives to Argos, the people hide behind closed doors as if in mourning.

    source url Flies swarm everywhere, and the only being who will speak to the recently-arrived men is Jupiter. Your review has been submitted successfully. Not registered? Forgotten password Please enter your email address below and we'll send you a link to reset your password.