Existentialism

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Existentialism 'Existence precedes essence'. These are the few words that many people live by. These words describe a philosophy called Existentialism. The philosophical term, Existentialism, came from Jean Paul Sartre, a French philosopher. Jean Paul Sartre wrote 'No Exit', where he portrayed his philosophy negatively. On the other hand, Albert Camus, who wrote The Stranger, portrayed Existentialism positively through his characters. Each author uses the characteristics of Existentialism positively or negatively to define their own story as well as their characters as true Existentialists or not Existentialism has been described as a philosophical movement especially of the 20th century that stresses the individual position as self determining agent responsible for his or her own choices. Basically a true Existentialist will create their own beliefs, take responsibility for his of her own actions, and is very honest. If they were to do something wrong, they would take responsibility for their actions and not make excuses or put the blame on someone else. Furthermore, a true existentialist believes there is no God and thus man becomes alone with only ourselves as a guide to making the decisions that define our existence. They also believe that Life has no meaning and that everything happens by chance. Jean-Paul Sartre examines the basic themes of existentialism through his three characters Garcin, Inez, and Estelle. Garcin seems to appear an existentialist, but upon a closer look, he violates the rules time and again. Next, Inez seems to fully understand ideas deemed existential. Estelle is the third person, and does not seem to understand these ideas well, nor does she accept them when they are first presented to her. One similarity amongst the three is that they all at some point seem to accept that they are in "hell" for a reason. Garcin is "hell" because he beat his wife and cheated on her. However, he doesn?t wish he had acted differently. He shows and proves this when he says: ?I tell you I regret nothing (p. 24).? By saying this, Garcin is taking responsibility for his own actions; hence he is following the laws of Existentialism. However, he sometimes violates these laws. For example, he is so preoccupied with the idea that he is a coward that he makes the women tell him that he wasn?t a coward and makes her tell him that he was right in doing so. He is so dependent upon this that he wouldn?

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