The Flies

by: Jean-Paul Sartre

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained

The gods take pleasure in such poor souls. Would you oust them from the favor of the gods? What, moreover, could you give them in exchange? Good digestions, the gray monotony of provincial life, and the boredom—ah, the soul-destroying boredom—of long days of mild content.

In Act I, Jupiter, fully knowing that he is speaking with Orestes and not Philebus (Orestes's pseudonym) tells him what advice he would give to the real Orestes if, hypothetically, he were to meet him. Jupiter advises Orestes not to interfere in the lives of the Argives because these people, with all their piousness and guilt, please the gods. In this quotation Jupiter expresses two important points. First, he argues that the gods rejoice in the remorseful people of Argos. Remorse and fear help to maintain order, which is all that gods really want. Second, Jupiter insists that the people would be worse off if they did not live in remorse. Not only would they fall out of favor with the gods, but also their lives would be empty. The alternative to perpetual guilt is perpetual boredom. Living a bourgeois provincial existence one soon finds that one has nothing to do. It is better to remain in servitude to the gods than to be free and have nothing to do with one's freedom.