How Does Sartre Use Irony In No Exit

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Sartre’s Use of Irony in No Exit to Convey His Existential Themes
Irony is often used within literature to exemplify a theme or point that the author is trying to make. Ironic statements are made in most peoples’ day to day language in the form of sarcasm. It is also one of the main literary devices used in remarkable works such as Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet. No exit is no exception. Throughout the play, there are more than a few instances of iron including the the overall scene of Hell, the three trapped together, the door that did not open and lack of windows, lack of eye lids, and paper knife to name a few. However, all these cases of dramatic irony help illustrate Sartre’s positive views on existentialism by amusing the audience. The first, and nearly broadest, instance of irony in the play is the concept of hell and how Sartre creates it. He portrays that life in Hell is just the same as life on Earth, perhaps the only difference being that their travesties are magnified. As the lives of Inez, Estelle, and Garcin continue in Hell, their main torment is the one thing …show more content…

Where existence is the fact of being, as opposed to essence being the definition, function, or purpose. Because the paper-knife has a pre-decided essence, to open letters or cut apart the pages of a book, it is useless when there are no books around. Man, on the other hand, can never be put in this position, since man has no pre-determined essence. So human beings can never be useless, strictly speaking, because they never had a previous defined use. The need for a paper knife came about before the paper knife was created. The same cannot be said about humans. So in the play, the ironic presence of a paper knife when there is no use for it in the room births the existential theme of purpose and

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