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10.30 Perhaps it was a passing moment of madness after all. There is no trace of it any more. My odd feelings of the other week seem to me quite ridiculous today: I can no longer enter into them. I am quite at ease this evening, quite solidly terre-a-terre in the world. Here is my room facing north-east........

A lost battle is a battle one thinks one has lost.

A writer must refuse to allow himself to be transformed into an institution. - Upon refusing the Nobel Prize, Oct. 22, 1964

Acting is a question of absorbing other people's personalities and adding some of your own experience.

Acting is happy agony.

Admit it, it is your youth that you regret, more even than your crime; it is my youth you hate, even more than my innocence
Electra to her mother Clytemnestra in The Flies, act 1, Gallimard (1947).

As far as men go, it is not what they are that interests me, but what they can become.
Methuen (1963). Dirty Hands, act 5, sc. 3, Gallimard (1948).


Atheistic existentialism...states that if God does not exist, there is at least one being in whom existence precedes essence, a being who exists before he can be defined by any concept and that this being is man, or, as Heidegger says, human reality. What is meant here by saying that existence precedes essence? It means that, first of all, man exists, turns up, appears on the scene, and, only afterwards, defines himself. - Existentialism and Humanism

Catherine: “Why commit Evil?”
Gtz: “Because Good has already been done.”
Catherine: “Who has done it?”
Gtz: “God the Father. I, on the other hand, am improvising.”
The Devil and the Good Lord, act 3, sc. 4, Gallimard (1951).

Commoners are weightless. But he was a royal bon vivant who, no matter what, always weighed 125 kilos. I would be very surprised if he didn’t have a few pounds left. - A soldier in Argos, speaking of the dead king Agamemnon, in The Flies, act 2, Gallimard (1947).

Conflict is the original meaning of being-for-others. - Being and Nothingness

"Consciousness is a being, the nature of which is to be conscious of the nothingness of its being."
- Being and Nothingness

"Death is a continuation of my life without me..." - The Condemned of Altona

Don’t you feel the same way? When I cannot see myself, even though I touch myself, I wonder if I really exist.
Estelle, discovering that there are no mirrors in Hell, in No Exit, act 1, sc. 5, Gallimard (1947).

Everything has been figured out, except how to live.

"Everything is gratuitous, this garden, this city and myself. When you suddenly realize it, it makes you feel sick and everything begins to drift...that's nausea."
[Nausea]

Existence precedes and rules essence.
Being and Nothingness (1943)

Existentialism is nothing less than an attempt to draw all the consequences of a coherent atheistic position. It isn't trying to plunge man into despair at all. But if one calls every attitude of unbelief despair, like the Christians, then the word is not being used in its original sense. Existentialism isn't so atheistic that it wears itself out showing that God doesn't exist. Rather, it declares that even if God did exist, that would change nothing. There you've got our point of view. Not that we believe that God exists, but we think that the problem of His existence is not the issue. In this sense, existentialism is optimistic, a doctrine of action, and it is plain dishonesty for Christians to make no distinction between their own despair and ours and then to call us despairing.

Freedom is what you do with what's been done to you.

Generosity is nothing else than a craze to possess. All which I abandon, all which I give, I enjoy in a higher manner through the fact that I give it away.... To give is to enjoy possessively the object which one gives.
“Doing and Having,” sct. 2, Being and Nothingness (1943, trans. 1965).

God is the solitude of men. There was only me: I alone decided to commit Evil; alone, I invented Good. I am the one who cheated, I am the one who performed miracles, I am the one accusing myself today, I alone can absolve myself; me, the man. - The Devil and the Good Lord, act 10, sc. 4, Gallimard (1951).

He is dead, and my hatred has died with him.
Electra, before the dead Aegistheus, in The Flies, act 2, Gallimard (1947).

Hell is... other people. [In Camera] Closed Doors (1944)

"Human-reality is free because it is not enough. It is free because it is perpetually wrenched away from itself and because it has been separated by a nothingness from what it is and from what it will be." - [Being and Nothingness]

I do not give a damn about the dead. They died for the [Communist] Party and the Party can decide what it wants. I practice a live man’s politics, for the living.
Methuen (1963). Dirty Hands, act 5, sc. 3, Gallimard (1948).

I do not understand! I understand nothing! I cannot understand nor do I want to understand! I want to believe! To Believe! - The Devil and the Good Lord, act 1, Gallimard (1951).

"I exist. It's sweet, so sweet, so slow..." - Nausea

I felt less alone when I didn’t know you yet: I was waiting for the other. I thought only of his strength and never of my weakness. And now here you are, Orestes, it was you. I look at you and I see that we are two orphans.
Electra to her brother Orestes in The Flies, act 2, Gallimard (1947).

I have no need for good souls: an accomplice is what I wanted.
Electra to her brother Orestes in The Flies, act 2, Gallimard (1947).

I know nothing, I am neither woman nor girl; I have been living in a dream and when someone kissed me, it made me want to laugh. Now I am here before you, it seems as though I have just awakened and it is morning.
Methuen (1963). Dirty Hands, act 6, sc. 2, Gallimard (1948).

I say a murder is abstract. You pull the trigger and after that you do not understand anything that happens. - Methuen (1963). Dirty Hands, act 5, sc.2, Gallimard (1948).

I tell you in truth: all men are Prophets or else God does not exist. - The Devil and the Good Lord, act 1, Gallimard (1951).

I was not the one to invent lies: they were created in a society divided by class and each of us inherited lies when we were born. It is not by refusing to lie that we will abolish lies: it is by eradicating class by any means necessary. - Methuen (1963). Dirty Hands, act 5, sc. 3, Gallimard (1948).

"I was too loved to have doubts about myself..." - The Words

"I would call Anti-Semitism a poor man's snobbery..." - Anti-Semite and Jew

I would like to see the truth clearly before it is too late. - Nausea

If man, as the existentialist conceives him, is indefinable, it is because at first he is nothing. Only afterward will he be something, and he himself will have made what he will be. Thus there is no human nature, since there is no God to conceive it. Not only is man what he conceives himself to be, but he is also only what he wills himself to be after this thrust toward existence.

If only you knew how little I care. Cowardly or not, as long as he is a good kisser.
Estelle on Garcin, in No Exit, act 1, sc. 5, Gallimard (1947).

If we must absolutely mention this state of affairs, I suggest that we call ourselves “absent”, that is more proper.
Estelle, refusing to use the word “dead”, in No Exit, act 1, sc. 5, Gallimard (1947).

If you are lonely when you are alone, then you are in bad company.

In love, one and one are one.

It disturbs me no more to find men base, unjust, or selfish than to see apes mischievous, wolves savage, or the vulture ravenous.

Life begins on the other side of despair.

Life has no meaning the moment you lose the illusion of being eternal.

Jean Paul Sartre. A french philosopher of the 20th century. Privacy Policy