No Exit by Jean Paul Sartre Essays

990 Words Nov 7th, 2008 4 Pages
By Dilara Eynullayeva
Words: 874

No Exit by Jean Paul Sartre
Analyze the play’s title. Be sure to consider the original French: Huis Clos.

Since its first publication in 1944 in French, the play Huis Clos by Jean-Paul Sartre has been translated into numerous languages around the world. The English translations have seen many different titles, including In Camera, No Way Out, and Dead End. The most common and accepted of all the title translation, however, is No Exit. The translation is derived from the literal meanings of the title words in French: “huis” means “door” and “clos” means “closed”. Thus, taken one step further, since the term “closed door” is associated with a sealed-off entrance, the translation became No Exit.
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Therefore, linguists agree that the literal translation of Huis Clos to No Exit is innacurate – for a “no way out” differs greatly “a confidential trial”.
Even if it weren’t for its idiomatic definition, the term would still not be used to mean “closed door”. Also knowledge that would only be known to a native French-speaker is the fact that although the term “huis” does indeed “translate to “door”, is a very old and exclusively literary word for “door”. It is a term that is used very scarcely, and only in context of things such as a strictly formal essay and the like. Considering the context and dialect of the play, which were modern at the time, and the fact that the play had been written in the mid-20th century, a fairly recent time, it is highly unlikely that the term had been used literally to mean “door”.
Knowing about this innaccuracy of the translated title, one must analyze the play’s original title to fully grasp its connection to the story. While the English No Exit creates images of blocked entrances and no way out, Huis Clos, the idiomatic expression translated best to “confidential trial”, creates a very different image. “Confidential trial” makes the reader focus more on the conditions under which the three main characters stay in Hell and their emotional bonds, as opposed to the fact that the three of them are bound together physically. This concept has direct proof, for in one instance during the play, the character of Garcin almost

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