Dr. Rank as the Torrid Lover

         In both Henrik Ibsen's 1879 play and the 1973 movies A Doll's House, there is a triangle that takes place between Nora, Torvald, and Dr. Rank. Part of the reason for this triangle is that Nora (Jane Fonda/Claire Bloom) and Torvald (David Warner/Anthony Hopkins) do not have a good marriage, and they go to Dr. Rank (Trevor Howard/Ralph Richardson) to discuss the problems they are having with one another. But another reason why I feel this triangle exists, is that Dr. Rank is the torrid lover of both Nora and Torvald. This theme is more evident in both of the movies than in the book.

         Dr. Rank always seems to be "comforting" Nora when she needs someone the most. Although they did not show any sort of relationship between these two on camera, I still think that there was something there. A few times during the movie, Dr. Rank would put his hands on Nora's shoulders or would genteelly caress her in some way. As much as Nora may have wanted Dr. Rank to be her lover, I do not think that Nora was quite Dr. Rank's type.

         More of a love affair may have existed between Torvald and Dr. Rank. It is very easy to see how this could have happened. Dr. Rank obviously favors Torvald over Nora for the simple fact that he is a man. There are many times throughout the movie that Dr. Rank "hits on Torvald" or "makes a move on him." Though these moves are discreet, they are still there and easy to pick up on.

         Torvald may have never taken up Dr. Rank's offers, but he very well could have. As frustrated as Torvald gets with Nora, it would be very easy for him to want to be with someone who understood what he was going through. And what better of a person to be there for him than Dr. Rank?

         I think that if A Doll's House were remade in today's society, the triangle that exists between Nora, Torvald, and Dr. Rank could be explained this way. But I guess we will never really know what Dr. Rank's true position in the triangle was.

Meghan Mottaz

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