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MonkeyNotes-No Exit by Jean Paul Sartre
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Scene V

When Inez asks Estelle to tell her story, she promises that she will tell only the truth. Estelle explains that she lost her parents when she was a child and that she had to bring up a younger brother. When a nice, wealthy, older man proposed to her, she accepted, for she was worried about the well being of her brother, who was in delicate health and required a lot of attention. Estelle claims that she was happily married for six years even though she sacrificed her youth for a man three times older than she. Then two years ago, she met a young man and fell in love with him. Even though he wanted her to go away with him, she refused. At the end of her explanation, Estelle asks the other two if her behavior could have been considered a sin. "Certainly not," responds Garcin with conviction. After a brief silence, Garcin asks whether it is a crime to stand by one's principles. Estelle asserts that no one can blame a man for doing that.


Notes

It is obvious that when Estelle tells her own story, she fills it with lies. That is probably why she promises to tell only the truth. She claims that she married her husband, a man three times older than she, so that she would be better able to provide for her sickly younger brother; in truth, she married him for his money and what it would buy her. She complicates her untruthful story by stating that she was happily married for six years. In truth, Estelle was bored with her marriage and found herself a young lover. Even though she knows that her behavior was sinful and wrong, she tries to justify it to the others.

It is important to note the relationship that is developing between Garcin and Estelle, who are attracted to one another. While the two of them chat, Inez is totally ignored, which will become a source on contention for her. When Estelle asks if her behavior on earth was sinful, Garcin quickly responds with words of encouragement: "Certainly not." In a similar manner, Estelle takes up for Garcin when he talks about standing by one's principles.

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