Captain’s house. Home of a Swedish cavalry officer and amateur scientist. The stage directions at the beginning of act 1 indicate that the captain tries to use the sitting room as his office or private study. He has his guns and gamebags hanging on the wall and uniform coats hanging on clothes-pegs by the door. However, the fact that the room is not his private domain is immediately suggested by the presence of a large round table strewn with newspapers and magazines and, more especially, by the fact that three doors give access to other parts of the ground floor. The stage directions call for a door in the background to the right, a private door in the right-hand corner, and a door to the inner rooms to the left.
The women obviously do not regard the captain’s sitting room as a private inner sanctum. The captain’s wife, his daughter Bertha, and the nurse all enter without knocking. The captain is also within earshot of female squabbling, including the screams of his deranged mother-in-law, through the door leading to the inner rooms. As the curtain rises on act 2, and then again on act 3, the viewer sees exactly the same setting, and this reinforces the impressions of the monotony of the captain’s domestic life and the fact that he is a helpless prisoner in his own home. As the pastor says in act 1, “There are too many women here governing the house,” to which the captain replies, “Yes, aren’t there? It is like going into a cage full of tigers.” Strindberg’s choice of the place for his drama helps to emphasize his misogynistic message that the captain, like many other married men, is a victim. He is like a prisoner or like a soldier desperately holding out in a last crumbling redoubt. He has no privacy or peace of mind even in his own home.