The Valet ushers Estelle into the room. Garcin quickly informs her that he is not the torturer, and she replies that she never thought that he was. She laughs at their situation, but Garcin is not amused. She worries about the color clash between her clothes and the sofa, but she quickly realizes that there is no point in worrying. Inez tells Estelle that she is pretty. They all discuss their deaths: Inez committed suicide by using a gas stove; Estelle died of pneumonia; Garcin was shot twelve times in the chest. Estelle is appalled by the discussion, and she suggests that they refer to their deaths as their "absences."
They are able to see their former loved ones in various states of sorrow. Garcin buries his head in his hands as he contemplates his life, while Inez mocks him, saying that her life was quite neatly put in order before she died. Estelle and Garcin think that it's mere chance that brought the three together in this room; Inez disagrees, believing that nothing has been left to chance. Estelle dislikes the idea of someone expecting something from her, but Inez tells her to do as she pleases since it is not yet clear what "they" expect from her.
The characters have now reached the stage where they are conscious of other people's involvement in this setup of Hell. Their room has been carefully planned for them; "they" have assembled the three characters deliberately (according to Inez), and thus we can expect a collision of personalities — in fact, the room has become hot, a symbolic hint of what's to come.