Existentialism And Jean-Paul Sartre

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Intelligent Journal: What do you think of Existentialism as a general philosophy and Jean-Paul Sartre’s perspective as demonstrated through his plays?

Through Jean-Paul Sartre’s plays, “No Exit”, “The Flies”, and “The Respectful Prostitute” I have come to the conclusion that Existentialism focuses mainly on a single person taking liability for their own actions, and those actions should be without the influence of society. This includes the idea that Sartre makes present in these plays; there are no easy answers, people must live by their own standards without searching for validation. While this idea seems rational in theory, I think the way Sartre presents it dismisses other people’s views and judges believers for them. For example, in
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He basically calls the people of Argos fools for following Zeus and repenting their sins. Here he is removing the people of free will, making them blindly follow this religion. I do think free will is often restricted, but by the person themselves, because they feel like they need to conform and follow this power. Sartre, through Orestes, makes it seem like you can only be free when you are free from power over you, therefore free from religion. I think this is a skewed view of life. Sartre generalizes followers of religion, specifically Catholicism, so much that they all seem like mindless clones. I am not religious, but I think people who follow religion don’t give it all the power. Rather than letting it have a hold over them, they work with it to make their decisions. Here is where I think Sartre fails. He is hypocritical. Sartre makes it seem like searching for answers or validation through religion is foolish, so instead, he gives us the answers he thinks are correct, he gives himself the power over the reader. He essentially makes himself into a god and existentialism into a religion, completely counteracting his previous points. Sartre is telling the reader that they are stupid, and existentialism is the right way, but since according to existentialism there is no right way, it all just becomes a never-ending, pointless…show more content…
Here, Sartre writes with some of the same flaws, as in the other two plays, but he introduces a new factor: racism. The existentialist factors are still strong, but the reader is left with more of a societal commentary, on how aspects of society are skewed in favor of those with white skin, along with the better side of existentialism. This play focuses more on an actual problem in the world, rather than promoting Sartre’s Existentialist agenda. “The Respectful Prostitute” doesn’t really judge people for believing in a religion, or promote bad behavior, it calls for the reader to question society's beliefs, to develop and follow their own set of morals, and try and do what they think is right, regardless of a need for acceptance. These are the best parts of Existentialism because they don’t call out other people, which for Sartre can only end in hypocrisy, but they promote personal growth for a better more practical
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