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Representation and Ontological Self-Knowledge in Sartre's Drama

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Abstract:

Because Sartre's theatre is one of representation and authenticity, plays like The Victors offer Sartrean philosophical explorations of subjects pushed to the limits of existence by torture and oppressive social edicts. It is in extreme situations that a subject most clearly exercises or fails to exercise his freedom and therefore his authenticity. But Sartre's interest in a complete explication of this process wanes before he fully outlines his project of self formation, which leaves the present paper to prove: (1) the unattainability of any final or permanent authenticity, since each subject represents itself alternately in authentic and inauthentic ways and because the representations of a single subject are constantly in flux; (2) the primacy of representation as the force by which the self is formed and authenticity achieved or avoided; and (3) the criteria for the assessment of authenticity levels and how these processes come to light in plays like The Victors.

Keywords: ESSENCE; FREEDOM; MURDER; ONTOLOGY; REPRESENTATION; THE VICTORS; TORTURE

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3167/ssi.2011.170105

Publication date: March 1, 2011

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