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The Flies

Jean-Paul Sartre


Key Facts

Key Facts

full title · The Flies (Les Mouches)

author · Jean-Paul Sartre

type of work · Drama

genre · Philosophical fiction

language · French

time and place written · 1943; Paris, France

date of first performance · 1943

location of first performance · Paris

date of first publication · 1943

publisher · Librairie Gallimard

protagonist · Orestes

antagonists · Jupiter; Aegistheus

setting (time) · Probably 12th or 13th century BC when the events of the Greek myth of Orestes took place

setting (place) · Argos, Greece

climax · Jupiter speaks in an awe inspiring booming voice and attempts to convince Orestes to return to his law. Orestes rejects him, saying that he is free

falling action · Electra leaves with Jupiter; Orestes tells the Argives that he has freed them and leaves Argos with The Furies in pursuit

foreshadowing · Electra's youth, her obsession with eyes and thus the judgment of others, the element of fantasy in her hatred, and the fact that she acts out of revenge rather than her freedom are all mentioned, foreshadowing her eventual surrender to remorse

tone · Varying largely between impassioned, farcical, melodramatic, and despondent

symbols · Flies, stones, eyes, weapons

themes · Freedom, responsibility and guilt, relation of humanity to nature, resistance to authority, past and future

motifs · Power and farce, lightness and heaviness, youth and age, beauty and ugliness

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