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“Erostratus” written by Jean-Paul Sartre is a story about a character named Paul Hilbert who throughout the story develops obsession with fame. Sartre, “one of the great philosophical minds of the twentieth century” and “a leading proponent of existentialism” (Sartre, 1000) borrowed heavily, as the title indicates, from Greek mythological story of Erostratus. The author enforces the character’s personality deficiencies with the historical inspiration for Hilbert’s actions through the story of Erostratus, descriptions of his awkward social interactions and the disastrous consequences as he attempts to realize his bizarre fantasies. On one hand, Paul is characterized as a person with megalomaniac mental disorder and as a person with inferiority complex on the other hand, which is revealed through his intense tendency to heighten himself above everyone else, his interaction with prostitutes and the desire to immortalize his name in history. Paul’s complex personality including his megalomaniac mental disorder and inferiority complex is best described through the way he looks at people when he is situated somewhere high above, the way he feels when he walks to his office, and his usage of the revolver. Paul spends the majority of his free time watching people from his room located on the seventh floor of the building where he lives. To his ill delight he puts “out the light and [goes] to the window” (Sartre, 1000), where he creepily observes pedestrians, and laughs at their miniature appearance. Paul admires imposing architecture such as, “the towers of Notre-Dame, the platforms of Eifel Tower, the Sacre-Coeur” (1000), because his megalomaniac tendencies are supported by heights. However, when he goes to the streets where “it’s much harder to consider people as ants” (1000), his feelings of superiority disappear. With the disappearance of confidence and domination his diminutive mind-set reappears. Paul feels trivial in presence of others and...
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