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 "This bronze. Yes, now's the moment; I'm looking at this thing on the mantelpiece, and I understand that I'm in Hell. I tell you, everything's been thoughtout beforehand. They knew I'd stand at the fireplace stroking this thing of bronze, with all those eyes intent on me. Devouring me. What? Only two of you? I thought there were more; many more. So this is hell. I'd never have believed it. You remember all we were told about the torture-chambers, the fire and brimstone, the burning marl, Old wives' tales! There’s no need for red-hot pokers. HELL IS--OTHER PEOPLE!"

A classic play by Jean-Paul Sartre that's highly popular in Existentialism, No Exit is an often darkly comic look at the Self-Inflicted Hell faced by its three protagonists. They are Garcin, an insecure journalist; Ines, a lesbian postal clerk, and Estelle, a beautiful and charming young aristocrat.

Contains examples of:

  • Badass Pacifist: Garcin thinks he's this, but he's really a Dirty Coward.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Estelle
  • Brutal Honesty: Ines doesn't mince her words.
  • Casanova: Garcin
  • Coitus Uninterruptus: In life, Garcin was fond of bringing his conquests home in full view of his wife, and making her serve them coffee in bed. He does it with Estelle during the course of the play whilst Ines offers running commentary, in a supremely awkward scene.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Hell involves locking you in a small hotel room with two similarly unpleasant people... for ever.
    • The door isn't even locked. No one has the nerve to leave.
  • Dead to Begin With: Our protagonists.
  • Dirty Coward: Garcin deserted and met his end by firing squad.
  • "Everybody Laughs" Ending: A uniquely dark and disturbing example.
  • Freudian Trio: Garcin is Ego, the mostly critical Ines eventually becomes the Superego (while acting like Id at first), and Estelle reveals herself to be Id.
  • Hell Hotel: Arguably, this is the inversion (rather than an Earthly hotel being hellish, Hell is a rather normal Earthly hotel--on the surface anyway).
  • Ironic Hell: Possibly the most stripped-down, bare-bones example in the history of fiction. The only things making the hotel room a place of eternal torment are the exact same psychological flaws and unpleasantnesses that got you sent there in the first place.
  • Jerkass: The three of them in life, which comes to be used as their mutual hell.
  • Mundane Afterlife
  • One-Scene Wonder: The only other character in the play is the Valet, a Servile Snarker and presumably a demon, who is basically Screwtape meets Figaro.
  • Psycho Lesbian: Ines, it's never out right stated that she's a lesbian, but it's pretty clear she is, and she's plenty psycho.
  • Sealed Room in the Middle of Nowhere: The play's setting. As it turns out, it doesn't even have to be sealed.
  • Self-Inflicted Hell: Literally, there is no need for Fire and Brimstone Hell because "Hell is other people". Made even more poignant by the fact that the protagonists are given several opportunities to escape during the play, but are held back every time by their own flaws, fears and anxieties. Not only is hell other people, but its security system is yourself.
  • Triang Relations: Type 4, though describing it as a love triangle might be a bit too kind.
  • Villainous Breakdown: The Play.
  • Villain Protagonist: All of the characters.
  • Write Who You Know: Garcin is based on the author, Jean-Paul Sartre. Ines is based on his long-term significant other, feminist Simone de Beauvoir.
  • Yandere: Estelle was displeased by one of her lovers, so she took a horrible revenge by throwing their child off a balcony in front of him.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: Inverted: During the play, the characters have visions of life progressing without them on Earth, and it seems like unlike usual Hells in which an eternity is actually a second, what feels like a brief time in Hell is actually several months on the outside.
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