Jean-Paul Sartre

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On the last analysis, then, love is life. Love never faileth and life never faileth so long as there is love.
Henry Drummond
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Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre (21 June 190515 April 1980), normally known simply as Jean-Paul Sartre, was a French existentialist philosopher, dramatist and screenwriter, novelist, and critic. He had an enduring personal relationship with fellow philosopher Simone de Beauvoir.


  • I agree, I disagree.
  • Imagination is not an empirical or superadded power of consciousness, it is the whole of consciousness as it realizes its freedom.
    • L'imagination (Imagination: A Psychological Critique) [1] (1936)
  • He was free, free in every way, free to behave like a fool or a machine, free to accept, free to refuse, free to equivocate; to marry, to give up the game, to drag this death weight about with him for years to come. He could do what he liked, no one had the right to advise him, there would be for him no Good or Evil unless he thought them into being.
  • We will freedom for freedom’s sake, in and through particular circumstances. And in thus willing freedom, we discover that it depends entirely upon the freedom of others and that the freedom of others depends upon our own. Obviously, freedom as the definition of a man does not depend upon others, but as soon as there is a commitment, I am obliged to will the liberty of others at the same time as my own. I cannot make liberty my aim unless I make that of others equally my aim.
    • Existentialism Is a Humanism, lecture [2] (1946)
  • What then did you expect when you unbound the gag that muted those black mouths? That they would chant your praises? Did you think that when those heads that our fathers had forcibly bowed down to the ground were raised again, you would find adoration in their eyes?
    • "Orphée Noir (Black Orpheus)" preface, Anthologie de la Nouvelle Poésie Nègre et Malgache (1948)
  • Every age has its own poetry; in every age the circumstances of history choose a nation, a race, a class to take up the torch by creating situations that can be expressed or transcended only through poetry.
    • "Orphée Noir (Black Orpheus)"
  • Fascism is not defined by the number of its victims, but by the way it kills them.
    • "On the Execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg," Libération (June 22, 1953)
  • To choose this or that is to affirm at the same time the value of what we choose, because we can never choose evil. We always choose the good, and nothing can be good for us without being good for all.
  • If literature isn’t everything, it’s not worth a single hour of someone’s trouble.
    • Interview (1960), Quoted in Susan Sontag's introduction to Barthes: Selected Writings, “Writing Itself: On Roland Barthes,” (1982)
  • A writer who takes political, social or literary positions must act only with the means that are his. These means are the written words.
    • Refusing the Nobel Prize, New York Times (October 22, 1964)
  • What I see is teeming cohesion, contained dispersal…. For him, to sculpt is to take the fat off space.

Nausea (1938)

La nausée (Nausea)

  • When you live alone you no longer know what it is to tell a story: the plausible disappears at the same time as the friends. You let events flow by too: you suddenly see people appear who speak and then go away; you plunge into stories of which you can't make head or tail: you'd make a terrible witness.
    • Diary entry of Tuesday, 30 January
  • People who live in society have learned how to see themselves in mirrors as they appear to their friends. I have no friends. Is that why my flesh is so naked?
    • Diary entry of Friday (2 February)
  • I think they do it to pass the time, nothing more. But time is too large, it can't be filled up. Everything you plunge into it is stretched and disintegrates.
    • Diary entry of Friday (2 February), concerning a card game
  • As for the square at Meknes, where I used to go every day, it's even simpler: I do not see it at all anymore. All that remains is the vague feeling that it was charming, and these five words that are indivisibly bound together: a charming square at Meknes. … I don't see anything any more: I can search the past in vain, I can only find these scraps of images and I am not sure what they represent, whether they are memories or just fiction.
    • Diary entry of Friday 3:00pm (9 February?)
  • And we feel that the hero has lived all the details of this night like annunciations, promises, or even that he lived only those that were promises, blind and deaf to all that did not herald adventure. We forget that the future was not yet there; the man was walking in the night without forethought, a night which offered him a choice of dull rich prizes, and he did not make his choice.
    • Diary entry of Saturday noon (10 February?)
  • I exist. It is soft, so soft, so slow. And light: it seems as though it suspends in the air. It moves.
  • Three o'clock is always too late or too early for anything you want to do.
  • Ma pensée, c'est moi: voilà pourquoi je ne peux pas m'arrêter. J'existe par ce que je pense … et je ne peux pas m'empêcher de penser.
    • Translation: My thought is me: that's why I can't stop. I exist because I think … and I can't prevent myself from thinking. (note: J'existe par ce que je pense can also be translated into the well known "I think, therefore I am.")
    • Lundi ("Monday")
  • Monsieur ... I do not believe in God; his existence has been disproved by Science. But in the concentration camp, I learned to believe in men.
  • I wanted for the moments in my life to follow each other and order themselves like those of a life remembered. It would be just as well to try to catch time by the tail.
  • As if there could be true stories: things happen in one way, and we retell them in the opposite way.
  • I construct my memories with my present. I am lost, abandoned in the present. I try in vain to rejoin the past: I cannot escape.
  • The real nature of the present revealed itself: it was what exists, all that was not present did not exist.
  • The past is the luxury of proprietors.
  • Who can exhaust a man? Who knows a man’s resources?
  • For an occurrence to become an adventure, it is necessary and sufficient for one to recount it.
  • For the moment, the jazz is playing; there is no melody, just notes, a myriad tiny tremors. The notes know no rest, an inflexible order gives birth to them then destroys them, without ever leaving them the chance to recuperate and exist for themselves.... I would like to hold them back, but I know that, if I succeeded in stopping one, there would only remain in may hand a corrupt and languishing sound. I must accept their death; I must even want that death: I know of few more bitter or intense impressions.
  • All that I know about my life, it seems, I have learned in books.
  • Absurd, irreducible; nothing—not even a profound and secret delirium of nature—could explain [a tree root].
  • How can I, who was not able to retain my own past, hope to save that of another?
  • I exist, that is all, and I find it nauseating.
  • I know. I know that I shall never again meet anything or anybody who will inspire me with passion. You know, it's quite a job starting to love somebody. You have to have energy, generosity, blindness. There is even a moment, in the very beginning, when you have to jump across a precipice: if you think about it you don't do it. I know I'll never jump again.

Being and Nothingness (1943)

L'être et le néant (Being and Nothingness)

  • 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.
    • Part 2
  • I am responsible for everything ... except for my very responsibility, for I am not the foundation of my being. Therefore everything takes place as if I were compelled to be responsible. I am abandoned in the world ... in the sense that I find myself suddenly alone and without help, engaged in a world for which I bear the whole responsibility without being able, whatever I do, to tear myself away from this responsibility for an instant.
    • Part 3
  • To eat is to appropriate by destruction.
    • Part 3
  • L'existence précède et commande l'essence.
    • Translation: Existence precedes and rules essence.
    • Part 4, chapter 1
  • Je suis condamné à être libre.
    • Translation: I am condemned to be free.
    • Part 4, chapter 1
  • L'homme est une passion inutile.
    • Translation: Man is a useless passion.
    • Part 4, chapter 2
  • Nothingness haunts being.
  • Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.
  • Life has no meaning a priori … It is up to you to give it a meaning, and value is nothing but the meaning that you choose.
  • It is certain that we cannot escape anguish, for we are anguish.
  • The For-itself, in fact, is nothing but the pure nihilation of the In-itself; it is like a hole of being at the heart of Being.
  • Man is always separated from what he is by all the breadth of the being which he is not. He makes himself known to himself from the other side of the world and he looks from the horizon toward himself to recover his inner being.
  • All human actions are equivalent ... and ... all are on principle doomed to failure.
  • Man is a useless passion.

The Flies (1943)

Les mouches (The Flies)

  • But [your crime] will be there, one hundred times denied, always there, dragging itself behind you. Then you will finally know that you have committed your life with one throw of the die, once and for all, and there is nothing you can do but tug our crime along until your death. Such is the law, just and unjust, of repentance. Then we will see what will become of your young pride.
    • Clytemnestra to her daughter Electra, Act 1
  • Be quiet! Anyone can spit in my face, and call me a criminal and a prostitute. But no one has the right to judge my remorse.
    • Act 1
  • Fear? If I have gained anything by damning myself, it is that I no longer have anything to fear.
    • Act 1
  • 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, Act 1
  • Some men are born committed to action: they do not have a choice, they have been thrown on a path, at the end of that path, an act awaits them, their act.
    • Act 1
  • They are in bad faith—they are afraid—and fear, bad faith have an aroma that the gods find delicious. Yes, the gods like that, the pitiful souls.
    • Act 1
  • Ah! Do not judge the gods, young man, they have painful secrets.
    • Jupiter, Act 1
  • Yes, I am so free. And what a superb absence is my soul.
    • Orestes, Act 1
  • You must be afraid, my son. That is how one becomes an honest citizen.
    • Mother to her young son, Act 1
  • Her face seems ravaged by both lightning and hail. But on yours there is something like the promise of a storm: one day passion will burn it to the bone.
    • Act 1
  • 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, Act 2
  • A man who is free is like a mangy sheep in a herd. He will contaminate my entire kingdom and ruin my work.
    • King Aegistheus, Act 2
  • Nicias, do you think you can erase with good deeds the wrongs you committed against your mother? What good deed will ever reach her? Her soul is a scorching noon time, without a single breath of a breeze, nothing moves, nothing changes, nothing lives there; a great emaciated sun, an immobile sun eternally consumes her.
    • King Aegistheus, Act 2
  • What do I care about Jupiter? Justice is a human issue, and I do not need a god to teach it to me.
    • Orestes, Act 2
  • 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, Act 2
  • All-powerful god, who am I but the fear that I inspire in others?
    • King Aegistheus to Jupiter, Act 2
  • Blood doubly unites us, for we share the same blood and we have spilled blood.
    • Orestes to Electra, Act 2
  • Suppose that I wish to deserve the title of “robber of remorse” and that I place in myself all [the townspeople’s] repentence?
    • Orestes to Electra, Act 2
  • But, if it will help ease your irritated souls, please know, dearly departed,that you have ruined our lives.
    • Aegistheus, Act 2
  • It is for the sake of order that I seduced Clytemnestra, for the sake of order that I killed my king. I wanted for order to rule and that it rule through me. I have lived without desire, without love, without hope: I made order. Oh! terrible and divine passion!
    • Aegistheus, Act 2
  • Understand me: I wish to be a man from somewhere, a man among men. You see, a slave, when he passes by, weary and surly, carrying a heavy load, limping along and looking down at his feet, only at his feet to avoid falling down; he is in his town, like a leaf in greenery, like a tree in a forest, argos surrounds him, heavy and warm, full of herself; I want to be that slave, Electra, I want to pull the city around me and to roll myself up in it like a blanket. I will not leave.
    • Orestes to Electra, Act 2
  • I have no need for good souls: an accomplice is what I wanted.
    • Electra to her brother Orestes, Act 2
  • He is dead, and my hatred has died with him.
    • Electra, before the dead Aegistheus, Act 2
  • Jupiter: I committed the first crime by creating men as mortals. After that, what more could you do, you the murderers?
    Aegisteus: Come on; they already had death in them: at most you simply hastened things a little.
    • Act 2
  • Ah! How I hate the crimes of the new generation: they are dry and sterile as darnel.
    • Jupiter to Orestes, Act 2
  • The painful secret of gods and kings is that men are free, Aegistheus. You know it and they do not.
    • Jupiter, Act 2
  • Aegistheus, the kings have another secret.... Once liberty has exploded in the soul of a man, the Gods can do nothing against that man. It is a matter for men to handle amongst themselves, and it is up to other men—and to them alone—to let him flee or to destroy him.
    • Jupiter, Act 2
  • Now I am weary and I can no longer tell good from Evil, and I need someone to show me the way.
    • Orestes to Electra, Act 2
  • Jupiter: I gave you the liberty to serve me.
    Orestes: That is possible, but it has turned against you and there is nothing either one of us can do about it.
    • Act 3
  • I came to claim my kingdom and you refused me because I was not one of you. Now I am one of you, my subjects, we are bound by blood, and I deserve to be your king. Your sins and your remorse, your mighty anguish, I take all upon myself. Fear your dead no more, they are my dead.
    • Orestes, Act 3
  • Remember, Orestes: you were part of my herd, you grazed in the fields along with my sheep. Your liberty is nothing but a mange eating away at you, it is nothing but an exile.
    • Jupiter, Act 3
  • We were too light, Electra. Now our feet press down in the earth like the wheels of a cart in its groove. Come with me, and we will walk heavily, bending under the weight of our heavy load.
    • Orestes, Act 3
  • Your entire universe will not be enough to make me guilty. You are the king of the Gods, Jupiter, the king of the stones and of the stars, the king of the waves of the sea. But you are not the king of men.
    • Orestes, Act 3
  • Jupiter: I am not your king, impudent larva? Who then has created you?
    Orestes: You. But you should not have created me free.
    • Act 3
  • I am a man, Jupiter, and each man must invent his own path.
    • Orestes, Act 3
  • You are a tiny little girl, Electra. Other little girls dreamed of being the richest or the most beautiful women of all. And you, fascinated by the horrid destiny of your people, you wished to become the most pained and the most criminal ... At your age, children still play with dolls and they play hopscotch. You, poor child, without toys or playmates, you played murder, because it is a game that one can play alone.
    • Jupiter to Electra, Act 3

Anti-Semite and Jew (1945)

  • The more one is absorbed in fighting evil, the less one is tempted to place the good in question.

No Exit (1944)

Huis-clos (No Exit)

  • I will take it all: tongs, molten lead, prongs, garrotes, all that burns, all that tears, I want to truly suffer. Better one hundred bites, better the whip, vitriol, than this suffering in the head, this ghost of suffering which grazes and caresses and never hurts enough.
    • Act 1, sc. 5
  • [We are] among murderers. We are in hell, my dear, there is never a mistake and people are not damned for nothing.
    • Act 1, sc. 5
  • 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”, Act 1, sc. 5
  • So that is what hell is. I would never have believed it. You remember: the fire and brimstone, the torture. Ah! the farce. There is no need for torture: hell is other people.
    • Garcin, Act 1, sc. 5
  • Your crystal? That’s silly. Whom do you think you are fooling? Come on, everyone knows that I threw the baby out of the window. The crystal is shattered on earth, and I do not care. I am no longer anything but a skin, and my skin does not belong to you.
    • Estelle to Inès, Act 1, sc. 5
  • It is better; heavier, crueler. The mouth you wear for hell.
    • Inès to Estelle after she has applied lipstick, Act 1, sc. 5
  • As for me, I am mean: that means that I need the suffering of others to exist. A flame. A flame in their hearts. When I am all alone, I am extinguished.
    • Inès, describing her path to Hell, Act 1, sc. 5
  • You have stolen my face from me: you know it and I no longer do.
    • Act 1, sc. 5
  • 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, Act 1, sc. 5
  • Ha! to forget. How childish! I feel you in my bones. Your silence screams in my ears. You may nail your mouth shut, you may cut out your tongue, can you keep yourself from existing? Will you stop your thoughts.
    • Inès reiterating to Garcin that they cannot ignore one another, Act 1, sc. 5
  • One always dies too soon—or too late. And yet, life is there, finished: the line is drawn, and it must all be added up. You are nothing other than your life.
    • Inès, Act 1, sc. 5
  • We are in hell and I will have my turn!
    • Inès warns Garcin and Estelle not to make love in her presence, Act 1, sc. 5
  • If only you knew how little I care. Cowardly or not, as long as he is a good kisser.
    • Estelle on Garcin, Act 1, sc. 5
  • I think of death only with tranquility, as an end. I refuse to let death hamper life. Death must enter life only to define it.
  • A man is what he wills himself to be.

Dirty Hands (1948)

Les Mains Sales (Dirty Hands)

  • It is the good children, Madame, who make the most terrible revolutionaries. They say nothing, they do not hide under the table, they eat only one sweet at a time, but later on, they make Society pay dearly for it!
    • Jessica, Act 3, sc. 1
  • As for us, my little friend, we entered [the Communist Party] because we were tired of dying of hunger.
    • Act 3, sc. 2
  • I respect orders but I respect myself too and I do not obey foolish rules made especially to humiliate me.
    • Hugo to Slick and Georges, Act 3, sc. 2
  • They made me take cod liver oil: that is the height of luxury: a medicine to make you hungry while the others, in the street, would have sold themselves for a beefsteak. I saw them passing my window with their signs: “Give me bread”.
    • Act 3, sc. 3
  • In any case, if you ever leave me with a handsome man, do not tell me that you trust me because, let me warn you: that is not what will prevent me from deceiving you, if I want to. On the contrary.
    • Jessica to her husband Hugo, Act 3, sc. 5
  • Karsky: I met your father last week. Are you still interested in hearing how he is doing?
    Hugo: No.
    Karsky: It is very probable that you will be responsible for his death.
    Hugo: It is virtually certain that he is responsible for my life. We are even.
    • Act 4, sc. 4
  • Listen to me: a family man is never a real family man. An assassin is never entirely assassin. They play a role, you understand. While a dead man, he is really dead. To be or not to be, right?
    • Hugo, Act 4, sc. 6
  • It is the same thing: killing, dying, it is the same thing: one is just as alone in each. He is luck, he will only die once. As for me, for ten days I have been killing him at every minute.
    • Hugo to Jessica, on his plans to kill Hoederer, Act 5, sc. 2
  • I say a murder is abstract. You pull the trigger and after that you do not understand anything that happens.
    • Act 5, sc. 2
  • I was your luxury. For nineteen years I have been put in your man’s world and was forbidden to touch anything and you made me think that all was going very well and that I did not have to worry about anything but putting flowers in vases. Why did you lie to me? Why did you keep me ignorant, if it was to admit to me one day that this world is cracking and that you are all powerless and to make me choose between a suicide and a murder?
    • Jessica to Hugo, Act 5, sc. 2
  • Politics is a science. You can demonstrate that you are right and that others are wrong.
    • Act 5, sc. 2
  • 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.
    • Act 5, sc. 3
  • What do you want to do with the [Communist] Party? A racing stable? What good is it to sharpen a knife every day if you never use it for slicing? A party is never more than a means. There is only one objective: power.
    • Hoederer to Hugo, Act 5, sc. 3
  • Intellectuals cannot be good revolutionaries; they are just good enough to be assassins.
    • Act 5, sc. 3
  • 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.
    • Act 5, sc. 3
  • The [Communist] Party has one objective: the creation of a socialist economy; and one means: the utilization of the class struggle.
    • Hugo, Act 5, sc. 3
  • As far as men go, it is not what they are that interests me, but what they can become.
    • Act 5, sc. 3
  • You take souls for vegetables.... The gardener can decide what will become of his carrots but no one can choose the good of others for them.
    • Heinrich, Act 5, sc. 3
  • I entered the [Communist] Party because its cause was just and I will leave it when it ceases to be just.
    • Hugo to Hoederer, Act 5, sc. 3
  • The best work is not what is most difficult for you; it is what you do best.
    • Act 6, sc. 2
  • 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.
    • Act 6, sc. 2

The Devil and the Good Lord (1951)

Le diable et le bon dieu (The Devil and the Good Lord)

  • I tell you in truth: all men are Prophets or else God does not exist.
    • Act 1
  • If you are not already dead, forgive. Rancor is heavy, it is worldly; leave it on earth: die light.
    • Act 1
  • I know only one Church: it is the society of men.
    • Act 1
  • If a victory is told in detail, one can no longer distinguish it from a defeat.
    • Act 1
  • It is too early to love. We will buy the right to do so by shedding blood.
    • Act 1
  • Your church is a whore: she sells her favors to the rich.
    • Act 1
  • It is not the same thing. You are perhaps not lying, but you are not telling the truth.
    • Act 1
  • I do not understand! I understand nothing! I cannot understand nor do I want to understand! I want to believe! To Believe!
    • Act 1
  • Lord, you have cursed Cain and Cain’s children: thy will be done. You have allowed men’s hearts to be corrupted, that their intentions be rotten, that their actions putrefy and stink: thy will be done.
    • Act 1
  • Quand les riches se font la guerre, ce sont les pauvres qui meurent.
    • Translation: When the rich make war, it's the poor that die.
  • Ah! yes, I know: those who see me rarely trust my word: I must look too intelligent to keep it.
    • Act 2, sc. 3
  • It is the same: a chosen one is a man whom God’s finger crushes against the wall.
    • Act 2, sc. 4
  • You see,I divide men into three categories: those who have a lot of money, those who have none at all and those who have a little. The first want to keep what they have: their interest is to maintain order; the second want to take what they do not have: their interest is to destroy the existing order and to establish one which is profitable to them. They each are realist, people with whom one can agree. The third group want to overthrow the social order to take what they do not have, while still preserving it so that no one takes away what they have. Thus, they preserve in fact what they destroy in theory, or they destroy in fact what they seem to preserve. Those are the idealists.
    • Act 3, sc. 3
  • I can be twenty women, one hundred, if that’s what you want, all women. Ride with me behind you, I weigh nothing, your horse will not feel me. I want to be your whorehouse!
    • Act 3, sc. 4
  • Catherine: Why commit Evil?
    Goetz: Because Good has already been done.
    Catherine: Who has done it?
    Goetz: God the Father. I, on the other hand, am improvising.
    • Act 3, sc. 4
  • I am not virtuous. Our sons will be if we shed enough blood to give them the right to be.
    • Act 3, sc. 5
  • Yes, Lord, you are innocence itself: how could you conceive of Nothingness, you who are plenitude? Your gaze is light and transforms all into light: how could you know the half-light in my heart?
    • Act 3, sc. 6
  • If you want to deserve Hell, you need only stay in bed. The world is iniquity; if you accept it, you are an accomplice, if you change it you are an executioner.
    • Act 3, sc. 6
  • There are two types of poor people, those who are poor together and those who are poor alone. The first are the true poor, the others are rich people out of luck.
    • Act 4, sc. 5
  • I will not be modest. Humble, as much as you like, but not modest. Modesty is the virtue of the lukewarm.
    • Act 4, sc. 5
  • One cannot become a saint when one works sixteen hours a day.
    • Act 5, sc. 2
  • I have nothing but contempt for you idiotic chosen ones who have the heart to rejoice when there are the damned in Hell and the poor on earth; as for me, I am on the side of men and I will not leave it.
    • Act 6, sc. 6
  • We will not go to Heaven,Goetz, and even if we both entered it, we would not have eyes to see each other, nor hands to touch each other. Up there, God gets all the attention.... We can only love on this earth and against God.
    • Acts 8 & 9
  • To whomever gives a kiss or a blow
    Render a kiss or blow
    But to whomever gives when you are unable to return
    Offer all the hatred in your heart
    For you were slaves and he enslaves you.
    • Acts 8 & 9
  • If you die, I will lie down beside you and I will stay there until the end, without eating or drinking, you will rot in my arms and I will love you as carcass: for you love nothing if you do not love everything.
    • Act 10, sc. 2
  • I am no longer sure of anything. If I satiate my desires, I sin but I deliver myself from them; if I refuse to satisfy them, they infect the whole soul.
    • Act 10, sc. 2
  • Do you think that I count the days? There is only one day left, always starting over: it is given to us at dawn and taken away from us at dusk.
    • Act 10, sc. 2
  • Night is falling: at dusk, you must have good eyesight to be able to tell the Good Lord from the Devil.
    • Act 10, sc. 2
  • It is no longer possible to escape men. Farewell to the monsters, farewell to the saints. Farewell to pride. All that is left is men.
    • Act 10, sc. 4
  • 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.
    • Act 10, sc. 4
  • Better to have beasts that let themselves be killed than men who run away.
    • Act 11, sc. 2
  • I wanted pure love: foolishness; to love one another is to hate a common enemy: I will thus espouse your hatred. I wanted Good: nonsense; on this earth and in these times, Good and Bad are inseparable: I accept to be evil in order to become good.
    • Act 11, sc. 2

Saint Genet, Actor and Martyr (1952)

  • One is still what one is going to cease to be and already what one is going to become. One lives one’s death, one dies one’s life.
    • Book 2, "The Melodious Child Dead in Me"
  • The French bourgeois doesn’t dislike shit, provided it is served up to him at the right time.
    • Book 2, "To Succeed in Being All, Strive to be Nothing in Anything"
  • The homosexual never thinks of himself when someone is branded in his presence with the name homosexual. ...His sexual tastes will doubtless lead him to enter into relationships with this suspect category, but he would like to make use of them without being likened to them. Here, too, the ban that is cast on certain men by society has destroyed all possibility of reciprocity among them. Shame isolates.
  • I maintain that inversion is the effect of neither a prenatal choice nor an endocrinal malformation nor even the passive and determined result of complexes. It is an outlet that a child discovers when he is suffocating.

Quotes about Sartre

  • During the last months of the German Occupation in 1944, the young man who was to become France’s most controversial contemporary philosopher and the woman who was to become its most controversial feminist met the professional criminal who was to become its most controversial playwright.
  • The Frenchman Jean-Paul ... Sartre I remember now was his last name had a dialectical mind good as a machine for cybernetics, immense in its way, he could peel a nuance like an onion, but he had no sense of evil, the anguish of God, and the possible existence of Satan.
    • Norman Mailer, in Evergreen Review, No. 26 (September/October 1962)


  • I have no religion, but if I were to choose one, it would be that of Shariati's.
  • If you seek authenticity for authenticity's sake, you are no longer authentic.
  • It is disappointing to realize that, hidden beyond these magnificent and promising names, is the same checkerboard city, the same red and green traffic lights and the same provincial look.
    • On Albuquerque NM, recalled when the city sought a plan for urban renewal, New York Times (February 5, 1985)
  • Like all dreamers, I confuse disenchantment with truth.
  • Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
  • So long as a man can look into the eyes of his oppressor, he is free.

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