Do the colors of the couches in No Exit symbolize anything?

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In a way, yes. The individual colors themselves may not serve as a direct symbol for anything, but like everything else in the room, the way that the characters interact with them is telling of their individual personalities. This is reflected when Garcin asks if the furniture is the same...

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In a way, yes. The individual colors themselves may not serve as a direct symbol for anything, but like everything else in the room, the way that the characters interact with them is telling of their individual personalities. This is reflected when Garcin asks if the furniture is the same in all the rooms, to which the Valet responds, "No, we cater to all types."

When Estelle enters the room last, it is determined that each of them are to have a couch to themselves, though Estelle does not want the remaining green couch. Also rejecting Inez's offer of her red couch, Estelle decides that only Garcin's blue couch will do, as it matches her dress. Garcin responds to this with complete ambivalence, setting the stage for clashing personalities and reinforcing the idea of the play that "Hell is other people."

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Perhaps the colors of the couches are meant to be significant, but it is hard to know definitively. However, considering the furnishings is a sound analytical move.

Because the room is one that Garcin, Estelle, and Inez are to share for an eternity in hell, one could reasonably assume that the furnishings are meant to be in some way punishing.

The description of the room being decorated in Second Empire style is significant. It is a highly ornamental style meant to suggest majesty and permanence, which is in itself ironic for the "style" of hell. Moreover, in the modernist period when this play was written, contemporary tastes had turned to more modern, streamlined styles, so to be stuck in an overly formal, uncomfortable, and fussy style would add to the misery of a more modern-minded inhabitant.

Garcin finds the bronze sculpture on the mantel ugly, and Estelle finds the couches hideous. Inez uses the word "livid" to describe the green of one of the sofas; it implies that the color is hard on the eyes.

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While the particularity of the colors themselves don't seem to have any obvious symbolic meaning, the fact that the colors are different shows a symbolic difference between the characters. Each couch has a separate angle and color, which symbolically shows the significant difference in the characters, as well as in how they see each other.

Furthermore, the colors and angles of the couches serve as a method of giving personality to the three characters in the play. Estelle, for example, chooses the blue couch in order to match her dress. Both Inez and Garcin offer their couches to Estelle, for they aren't too caring about the colors of their couches. Estelle, of course, becomes possessive of her own space and even scolds Garcin for later sitting on her couch.

For another example, Garcin's paranoia is shown through the colors of the couches; he is irrationally convinced that "they" had planned all the particulars in regards to the couches, such as their colors and positions and angles. In a sense, his attempt to decipher why each couch is the way it is can symbolize readers' tendencies to search for meaning in nothing.

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Like the people in the room—Garcin, Inez, and Estelle—the couches of "wine-red," "livid green," and blue clash with one another. They are also in the Second Empire style, which is so tediously overdone as to irritate anyone who likes clean lines. Estelle complains that she "loathes angles," and Inez complains of the Second Empire style of furniture, remarking that "The room was all set for us." She also tells the others, "And they've put us together deliberately."

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The few objects in the room have symbolic meaning, especially in defining the characters. The sofas are of different colors—wine-colored, blue, and green—and Estelle insists on taking the blue one because it best matches her dress. This symbolizes her superficiality.

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