Further notes on
Pablo doesn’t try to protect Gris out of patriotism, but because he funds it funny to see them rushing about. Also this sense of the ridiculous is mixed with his stubbornness. At the end of the story, also, he ends up laughing. There’s an element of the ‘absurd’ here, perhaps. But he does, he believes as the time, condemn himself to death.
Always Pablo comes across as very street wise. Nobody fools him. We wonder perhaps if this itself isn’t a kind of mask, bravado, to help him deal with the situation. Yet all through the story he finds himself showing pity. Even though he claims to despise it.
Death itself is a kind of wall. It is a blank end beyond which it isn’t possible to imagine. So Sartre turns his back on the tradition that the fact of death enhances a person’s life, sense of life; and certainly on the tradition which sees a life beyond death, and which has inspired so much European literature, art and music.
It’s worth remembering the advice which Siduri gives to the Sumerian hero Gilgamesh, whose quest to overcome death has failed.
As for you, Gilgamesh, fill your belly with good things; day and night, night and day, dance and be merry, feast and rejoice. Let your clothes be fresh, bathe yourself in water, cherish the little child that holds your hand, and make your wife happy in your embrace; for this too is the lot of man'.