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KEY LITERARY ELEMENTS
The entire play is set in Hell, which is furnished like a Second Empire drawing room. There are references to Rio, Paris, and Switzerland. Garcin is from Rio. Estelle comes from Paris. She and her lover also travel to Switzerland.
LIST OF CHARACTERS
Garcin - a dead man who lived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and worked as a journalist. He is brought to Hell by the room-valet. He pretends to have been a brave man during his lifetime; in truth, he was an adulterous, middle-aged coward who was extremely cruel towards his wife. Although he was intelligent, he made some foolish decision in his life and paid for them with his life.
Estelle - a dead lady who lived in Paris, France. During her life, she was very attractive and very particular about her appearance. An absolute hypocrite, she pretends to be a decent person, but she committed adultery and infanticide, driving her lover to suicide. She is also brought to Hell by the room-valet and falls in love with Garcin.
Inez - a dead woman who worked as a postal clerk. She too is brought to Hell by the room-valet. She claims that she was damned even during her lifetime. On earth, she was a lesbian, sucking the life out of the women she pursued. In Hell, she is attracted to Estelle, who has no interest in her.
The room-valet - a man whose job is to show the people who arrive in Hell to their respective rooms and answer their questions.
Note: The minor characters do not actually appear in the play. As relatives or acquaintances of the characters, they are simply spoken about during the play.
Garcin's wife - a very sensitive lady and a devoted wife. She loved and admired her husband even though she was a victim of his cruelty.
Gomez - Garcin's colleague in the newspaper office. He criticizes Garcin for his cowardly behavior.
Florence - the last female lover of Inez.
The poor girl - a low class girl who is brought to Garcin's house for the purpose of sex.
Estelle's husband - a wealthy, older man whom Estelle marries for his money.
Peter and Olga - acquaintances of Estelle. Estelle envies Olga for dating Peter.
Estelle's younger brother - a delicate boy who needs a lot of attention.
Estelle's lover - a man who is driven to suicide when Estelle drowns their baby.
Estelle's baby - Estelle's illegitimate baby, born in Switzerland. Estelle throws the child into the lake to be rid of it.