Date of Award

Spring 2018

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


LACS: French

First Advisor

Sarah Kippur


This thesis compares two existential writers, Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus, and their perception of freedom through the medium of theatre. By comparing two plays written around the same time period, Caligula (1944) and Huis Clos (1944), and by examining aspects of theatre including the “mise en scène,” stage direction or action, and the voice of the actors, I show how their greatest point of contention is their definition of freedom and how they set up artificial situations (“situations-limites”) to articulate human freedom. Through a variety of supporting materials including theoretical texts by the two authors and secondary sources on their works and theories, I argue for a strong distinction between two authors that are often grouped together as “existentialists”. My thesis suggests that Sartre leans heavily on the action represented in his plays and that man has total freedom to react or engage in the situations however he wishes. On the other hand, Camus demonstrates through exaggerated aspects of mise en scène and the voice of the actors the absurd aspects of his play, suggesting that all freedoms are not created equal.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in French.