Third Person Omniscient Narrator: Definition & Examples

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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Katie Surber

Katie has a Master's degree in English and has taught college level classes for ten years.

In this lesson, we will define third person omniscient. We will then discuss why an author would use this point of view and then look at examples in modern and classical literature.

Third Person Omniscient Narrator

In third person omniscient, the narrator knows all the thoughts and feelings of all the characters in the story. When writing in third person omniscient, the author will move from character to character, allowing the events to be interpreted by several different voices, but always maintaining an omniscient - or godlike - distance.

Why Use a Third Person Omniscient Narrator?

When an author writes in third person omniscient, the audience is able to know and see everything about each character. Because of this, we are able to see into the minds of multiple characters and create a stronger relationship and bond with them. We are also able to see the reaction of multiple characters, which will help us interpret the plot of the story.

Third person omniscient also allows the author to have multiple voices in the story. They can write in the voice of an adult, child, man, or woman. By experiencing a story through different voices, we can see the story in another depth. We are also able to have a more objective interpretation of the events, meaning the interpretation is not influenced by personal feelings, as opposed to a more personal, subjective interpretation.

Finally, an author may use third person omniscient because it allows for better storytelling. Because there are multiple characters, there can be several plot lines and many different interpretations to the same event. The story will have more action, especially when the plot moves between characters.

Examples of Third Person Omniscient

In contemporary fiction, third person limited, where we see only through one character's point of view, is much more common than third person omniscient. However, there are some exceptions. Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code is written in third person omniscient. The narrator speaks in the point of view of several different characters and shows the audience what each one sees and hears. The narrator also provides background information and other pieces of knowledge that are not available to the characters.

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