A Doll's House

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Dr. Rank is a doctor who is best friends with Torvald and Nora, who he visits every day. Dr. Rank suffers from spinal tuberculosis, a condition he believes was caused by his father’s vices, which included having extramarital affairs and consuming too much luxurious food and drink. Dr. Rank is unmarried and lonely, and over the course of the play it is revealed that he is in love with Nora. Cynical about life, he rejoices when he finds out that his illness is terminal, and insists that neither Torvald nor Nora visit him in his dying days. As he predicted, he is not particularly missed by the other characters.

Dr. Rank Quotes in A Doll's House

The A Doll's House quotes below are all either spoken by Dr. Rank or refer to Dr. Rank. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Oxford University Press edition of A Doll's House published in 1998.
Act Two Quotes

Now Dr. Rank, cheer up. You’ll see tomorrow how nicely I can dance. And you can pretend I’m doing it just for you—and for Torvald as well, of course.

Related Characters: Nora Helmer (speaker), Torvald Helmer, Dr. Rank
Related Symbols: The Tarantella
Page Number: 47
Explanation and Analysis:

Dr. Rank has told Nora that he is dying and that she and Torvald will soon forget him, but Nora brushes him off and attempts to distract him by mentioning the Tarantella. Her behavior in this passage is rather childlike, as she is dismissive of Dr. Rank's melancholic feelings and seems unwilling to discuss the sober matter of his death. Her flirtatious behavior would similarly have been seen as immature and irresponsible, far from the ideal of a modest married woman. 

This passage also serves as another example of Nora's use of the Tarantella to appease men; she often brings it up to distract from conflict with Torvald, and here she uses a similar strategy with Dr. Rank. Her suggestion that Dr. Rank imagines she is dancing "just for him" highlights the pervasive notion that men wanted exclusive ownership of women.

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Act Three Quotes

His suffering and his loneliness seemed almost to provide a background of dark cloud to the sunshine of our lives.

Related Characters: Torvald Helmer (speaker), Dr. Rank
Page Number: 74
Explanation and Analysis:

Having learned from Nora that Dr. Rank is about to die and thus that they will never see him again, Torvald does not feel pity for his friend, but only regretful that Dr. Rank will not be around to make his and Nora's life seem even happier. The fact that Torvald responds this way to the death of his best friend highlights his cold-heartedness, foreshadowing his cruel reaction to the revelation of Nora's secret. At this point the antagonist of the play is no longer Krogstad, who has been redeemed by the promise of his marriage to Mrs. Linde, but rather Torvald. 

This quote also makes clear how much Torvald's idea of a happy and meaningful life is dependent on outside appearances. He appreciated Dr. Rank's presence because of how much happier he made Tora and Norvald seem, not because of the the actual pleasure of his company. Again, this prefigures his insistence upon learning Nora's secret that they stay married and keep up appearances for society's sake, even though they will be miserable. 

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Dr. Rank Character Timeline in A Doll's House

The timeline below shows where the character Dr. Rank appears in A Doll's House. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act One
Gender Theme Icon
Dr. Rank and an unnamed lady arrive. Torvald says he does not want to receive visitors, but... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
Torvald exits to meet Dr. Rank in his study, while the lady, wearing traveling clothes, is shown in to see Nora... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Mrs. Linde asks about Dr. Rank , wondering if his visit means Torvald is still in bad health. Nora explains that... (full context)
Money and Work Theme Icon
Deceit Theme Icon
...that she isn’t sure whether to show him in yet as Torvald is still with Dr. Rank . Nora asks who it is, and Nils Krogstad announces himself. Mrs. Linde gasps and... (full context)
Gender Theme Icon
Money and Work Theme Icon
Dr. Rank enters. Nora introduces him to Mrs. Linde. Mrs. Linde says they came in to the... (full context)
Money and Work Theme Icon
Deceit Theme Icon
Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Nora, breaking the tension, says that Dr. Rank is as keen to live as anybody. Dr. Rank says yes, that he, along with... (full context)
Money and Work Theme Icon
Deceit Theme Icon
Nora suddenly bursts out laughing and Dr. Rank inquires what she laughing about, asking if she knows what society is. Nora replies that... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
Deceit Theme Icon
Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Nora offers Dr. Rank a macaroon. He says he thought they were forbidden in Nora’s house. Nora lies that... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
Mrs. Linde, Torvald, and Dr. Rank all go to leave. As they go, Nora asks that they return that evening. The... (full context)
Act Two
Deceit Theme Icon
Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
...is a trait she inherited from her father. Mrs. Linde then comments on how depressed Dr. Rank seemed the night before, and Nora explains that he has tuberculosis of the spine. She... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
Nora explains that Dr. Rank was Torvald’s best friend as a boy and is also a good friend of hers,... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
Money and Work Theme Icon
Deceit Theme Icon
Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
...saying she is still a child and that she must stop “all this business with Dr. Rank .” Mrs. Linde recalls Nora’s dream about having a rich old admirer. She asks if... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
Money and Work Theme Icon
Deceit Theme Icon
Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
...study with both doors shut so he can’t hear anything. He tells her that when Dr. Rank arrives she should tell him to go to Torvald’s study, and exits. (full context)
Deceit Theme Icon
Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
...if there is a way out. The doorbell rings, and she sees that it is Dr. Rank . She lets Dr. Rank in and tells him that Torvald is busy at the... (full context)
Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Dr. Rank says he will keep taking advantage of the ability to talk to Nora as long... (full context)
Deceit Theme Icon
Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Nora tells Dr. Rank he is being absurd, saying she hoped he would be in a good mood. Dr.... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
Suddenly, Nora asks Dr. Rank why he smiled, and Dr. Rank replies that it was in fact Nora who laughed.... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
Deceit Theme Icon
Nora tells Dr. Rank to cheer up and promises that he’ll see her dance tomorrow and he can pretend... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Deceit Theme Icon
Dr. Rank muses that he couldn’t imagine what would have happened to him if he’d never encountered... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Deceit Theme Icon
Nora tells Dr. Rank that there is something he must help her prevent happening. She tells him how passionately... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Deceit Theme Icon
The maid enters with the lamp, before exiting again. Dr. Rank asks if Nora knew that he loved her, and she replies that she can’t tell... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
Deceit Theme Icon
Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Dr. Rank explains that he can’t figure Nora out, and that it’s often felt to him that... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Deceit Theme Icon
...to Nora and hands her a visiting card. Nora, looking at the card, exclaims. When Dr. Rank asks if something is wrong, she says it is her new costume. Dr. Rank, confused,... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
Deceit Theme Icon
...room again. He is surprised to see that Nora has not undergone some “marvelous transformation.” Dr. Rank , standing in the doorway, said he also expected this. Nora says she will not... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
...and drapes a colored shawl around herself. Torvald plays and Nora begins to dance, with Dr. Rank watching. Torvald tells her to slow down and be less wild, but Nora laughs and... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
Deceit Theme Icon
...as if her life depended on it. Nora replies that it does, and Torvald tells Dr. Rank to stop playing, causing Nora to come to a sudden stop. Torvald says Nora has... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
Deceit Theme Icon
...to be so wild and to be his own singing bird again. Nora ushers Torvald, Dr. Rank and Mrs. Linde to go and eat. Dr. Rank murmurs to Torvald if there is... (full context)
Act Three
Gender Theme Icon
Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
There is a knock at the door, and Dr. Rank announces himself. Torvald is annoyed by the intrusion, but greets Dr. Rank in a friendly... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
...not to play with it. Looking through the mail, he finds two visiting cards from Dr. Rank with black crosses above his name. He remarks that it is as if Dr. Rank... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
Deceit Theme Icon
...be with Nora that night, but Nora asks if he can do that knowing that Dr. Rank is dying. Torvald concedes that he does feel unsettled and that “an ugly thing” has... (full context)