Webster’s Dictionary defines consequences as: following as a result or effect. Consequences are not always negative however; they are simply the result that follows a choice. There are many choices made in the play by Sartre, No Exit. No Exit is a play about three strangers who are in Hell; trapped in a room together, destined to torment each other for all eternity. Death of a Salesman is another play full of consequences resulting from past choices. In this play, Willy Loman is a classic American salesman. He is not, however, living out the American dream; he is a failure and he has created an entire family of failures. As opposed to the classic American dream of becoming wealthy, successful, and loved by everyone. The characters in No Exit and Death of a Salesman have made many choices in their lives, and in their deaths, these choices have led to many negative consequences that these characters must deal with.
No Exit is the ultimate example of consequences; all the characters are in Hell because of the choices they made while alive, and they must deal with the consequences that these choices entail. Estelle made the choices that ultimately ended her up in Hell. She chose to have an affair with a younger man, and when she had a baby, she chose to kill her own baby. Her choices led to the death of her baby, her lover committing suicide, and eventually led to her being in Hell. It was her choices that led to her current situation and now she must accept the consequences for her actions. Estelle is not the only one who made poor choices that led to negative consequences, quite on the contrary, Garcin also made some bad decisions in his life. He was married, but he was unspeakably cruel to his wife. He constantly had affairs with other women and brought them back to his house where his wife would have to bring them breakfast in the morning. What’s more, he was a coward. This might not have directly influenced him going to Hell, as opposed to Heaven, but it certainly sped up his time of arrival. Garcin decided to refuse to fight in the war, but instead of simply informing his commanding officer that he was not going to fight, he deserted. If he had stayed, he would have probably been arrested, but since he tried to run and got caught he was killed. So in the end Garcin’s cowardly nature led to his untimely death and in association with the fact that Garcin was awful to his wife he now has to deal with the consequences of his actions in Hell. If Garcin had made better decisions in his life he would not have ended up in hell, and he might even still be alive. Instead he made the decisions that he did and he therefore had to deal with the consequences of his actions for all eternity. No Exit is all about consequences, that the choices that someone made in life will ultimately result in consequences in Hell.
Similarly, in Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman and his family eventually face the consequences of their past choices. Willy Loman is altogether unhappy with his life, and that is because he regrets the decisions he made earlier in life. His brother, Benjamin, asked Willy to go with him in order to make his fortune in Alaska. Willy, however, decided to stay and pursue his career as a salesman. In the end, Benjamin became fabulously wealthy and successful, whereas Willy stayed at his dead-end job and ended up deep in debt and unemployed. For the rest of his life, Willy always regretted not going with his brother, but, like always, he had to accept the consequences for his decisions. Willy’s poor decisions led to negative consequences for him and his family, but that doesn’t change anything, Willy must still live with his decisions and look towards the future, not stay stuck in the past. He obviously cannot do this because he ends up taking his own life. Instead of accepting his decisions and moving, on he decided to constantly dwell on the past instead of living in the present. In addition, he felt the need to make himself seem more important by lying to other people and by refusing help when it was offered. He refuses to work for Charley just because he was jealous of him, even though it would have meant a steady income and a job that wouldn’t require him to travel. He also tells his boss, Howard that his sons are very successful, but then when Howard suggests that Willy go to his sons for help Willy is forced to consider the fact that his sons are failures just like him. “Howard: This is no time for false pride, Willy. You go to your sons and you tell them that you’re tired. You’ve got two great boys, haven’t you?” (Miller 63). What’s so pathetic about this quote is that his sons are not successful at all; they have failed just like their father. Willy also passed his ability to make poor decisions on to his sons, Biff in particular. Biff was an amazing football player and he would have gone on to play college-ball, but since he was so appalled at his father for having an affair, he decided not to go to summer school in order to graduate, and therefore not go to college. Due to this decision, Biff could no longer play football, he could not find a decent job, and it led to a very bad relationship with his father. These are all consequences that came from Biff not going to summer school, but he would have to live with these consequences even if they may very well have ruined the rest of his life. There is no question that Biff’s life would have been better if he had gone to college, but he did not, so he must accept the negative consequences that come along with his choices. Death of a Salesman is the perfect example of an entire family making poor decisions that affect the rest of their lives and having to deal with the resulting negative consequences.
Hence, everyone must deal with the consequences of their own actions. Everyone makes choices that they will later regret, but the point is that they must be able to live with their choices, and the consequences that follow. Before any action is taken, one must consider the consequences that will follow. If the consequences are too severe it would be better not to do anything at all. No Exit and Death of a Salesman are perfect examples of not thinking about the consequences of actions and therefore having to deal with the negative consequences that arise from the choices. These characters made their own choices, and therefore they must pay the consequences for those choices, no one is to blame but them.