The Theatre of Jean-Paul Sartre
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A discussion of reality and imagination, and the transformation of existentialism into dramatic action in the plays of Jean-Paul Sartre.
to believe that all is good. Completely mystified, he takes refuge in Tertullian: "I believe because it is absurd!" (I, i) .29 Picking up the Archbishop's key to the underground passage into Worms, Heinrich must choose whether or not to deliver that key to Goetz; he must choose between the lives of two hundred priests or twenty thousand men. In Saint Genet Sartre quotes the words of T. E. Lawrence: "And then madness was very near, as I believe it would be near the man who could see things through
right the wrongs of the universe: he is alone with other men, fallible as he is. Joan Dark is defeated at the end of the play; Goetz is allowed to use what he has learned. Having overcome his obsession with the absolute, he is able to take the place that has been waiting for him as leader of the peasant army. A T THE END of Being and Nothingness (1943) Sartre announced that he would devote a forthcoming work to the moral questions raised by his philosophy of freedom. This work has still not
fragments of conversation, evasions, difficulty in verbalizing what has happened to them. Yet they analyze rationally each issue as it confronts them; nothing is said that brings in its wake all the significance of what has remained unsaid. One has to agree with Sartre that The Victors is less than successful. It fails for several reasons: the unsuitability of torture on the stage, the sketchy characterization of the torturers, the victims' failure to behave in such a way that the dramatic
Meursault's killing of the Arab because the sun was in his eyes. Two years after his crime Hugo wonders whether he had anything to do with it, or whether the bullet had not somehow acted independently. He experiences what he has done as an act without an agent; for himself he is still only Hugo the actor, who happened to have real bullets in his play gun. With Olga's admission that the Party line has changed, Hugo's last justification for his crime is taken away. As his act, it has been
fascinated with the irremediable act, a choice that by committing him absolutely will paradoxically free him of his sense of weightlessness and make him into what he has done. At the same time, he tries to find in action a means of escaping from isolation by creating out of his act a magical bond between himself and other men. What constitutes for Sartre genuine action? Serge Doubrovsky has attempted to define Sartre's position: Only an act with a precise historical meaning becomes a genuine