A Doll's House Questions and Answers
by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll's House book cover
Start Your Free Trial

What is the purpose of Dr. Rank in the play A Doll's House?

Expert Answers info

David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2017

write11,809 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

The presence of Dr. Rank in the play shows us that, even in the midst of a rigidly patriarchal society, it's still possible for men to behave decently towards women. By extension, this means that the likes of Torvald can't portray themselves as the helpless victims of society's prevailing norms and expectations. If they treat women abominably, as Torvald does, then that is because they've chosen to. Their behavior isn't determined by society and so they cannot evade their responsibilities.

As Rank is a fundamentally decent man, he's able to provide a moral commentary on the other characters, all of whom have very serious flaws. He doesn't do this explicitly, of course, but the other characters' flaws are revealed by their interactions with him. It seems that Dr. Rank has the remarkable capacity to get at the truth of what makes everyone tick. In that sense, he's not just a doctor, but something of an amateur psychologist as well.

This probably explains why Nora is able to talk candidly with...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 883 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

mwestwood, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

bookM.A. from The University of Alabama


calendarEducator since 2006

write16,150 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

renelane eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2006

write871 answers

starTop subjects are Literature and Math

check Approved by eNotes Editorial


lostinthought | Student

Dr. Rank is very important in A Dolls House.  He was someone that Nora could have her fantasy's about.  She didn't want to have an affair with him, but it was just the thought of doing something torvald wouldn't approve of that made her get these ideas.