What is the point of view in Henrik Ibsen's play A Doll's House?

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Henrik Ibsen wrote his play A Doll's House in what we call a limited third person point of view. We call point of view third person when we see speech and action, but never learn any thoughts of the characters. Ibsen's play focuses on the character Nora, but only from an outsider's perspective. Because we, the reader/viewer, have not become one with Nora, but still remain outside of her perspective, observing her, we can say that we are not observing her from the first person, but from our own point of view, the third person. However, since Nora is the character that we focus on the most, we can also say that it is a limited third person point of view. We can tell that Nora is the main character, or main focal point, because she is the character who opens the play and is in every scene until she walks out the door.

Furthermore, Ibsen's point of view for A Doll's House can also be categorized as a limited third person narrative with a near proximity. Proximity is determined by how close the narrator gets to the characters' inner thoughts. There is near proximity and distant proximity. With distant proximity the reader/viewer does not learn anything further about the character than what the reader/viewer reads or sees. However, with near proximity narration the reader/viewer has the opportunity to read/observe a central character making side remarks. We see Nora making some side remarks in both acts I and III. For instance, In act I, after Torvald tells Nora that deceitful women poison their homes and their children, leading to immoral human beings like Krogstad, we see Nora pause and whisper to herself "No, no--it isn't true. It's impossible; it must be impossible" (Act I). A few lines further down, while being "pale with terror," Nora asks herself "Deprave my little children? Poison my home?...It's not true. It can't possibly be true" (Act I).

Therefore, because the play is written and viewed from an outsider's perspective, Ibsen's viewpoint is third person. Also, the play focuses on Nora, making it a limited third person narrative, and, we hear some of her thoughts through side remarks, therefore Ibsen's point of view for A Doll's House is limited third person with a near proximity.

clever2009 | Student

Women should be treated in a human way. They should be taught from an early age how to feel responsibility. They should also know that they have duties as they have rights. As wives they must be trustworthy and as mothers they must be ideal. Husbands, also, must respect their wives if they really love them.

lit24 | Student

The term 'Point of View' is used only in relation to prose fiction.

It indicates which character  is telling the story and whose perspective the readers get as they read the story.

"A Dolls House" is a drama.

All of the action is played out in front of the audience. We the readers get to read only the text of the play. When we read the text of the play we have to visualise each scene as being played out in front of our eyes.

As such,there is no scope to visualise a particular individual character's perspective.