The most poignant moment in the play is when the door is opened, but Garcin doesn’t leave the room to escape his hell. He remains to persuade Inez to accept his cowardice, his betrayal of his country and his wife. This is Sartre’s vision of the contemporary person, unable or perhaps unwilling to escape his hell for fear of taking on the responsibility of defining his own person. As Erich Fromm has said, freedom can be frightening when we have to accept the responsibilities associated with that freedom. Ultimately, for Sartre, hell is when others, friends and family, career and leisure, society and culture, religion and government, define who we are.
Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone deBeauvoir