Dr. Rank is generally considered to be Torvald’s foil because of such different attitudes and behavior. The most sticking aspect is how the two men treat Nora. It is clear that Torvald doesn’t see his wife as an individual, which is one of the leading causes of her transformation. Meanwhile, Dr. Rank is just the opposite.
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In Ibsen’s play, there is a strict division between men’s world and women’s place. Torvald represents an average middle-class bank worker of that time. He is highly concerned about his status and reputation. Therefore, it is essential to keep the appearance of a perfect family, according to all the social rules. Unfortunately, Nora becomes a victim of such an attitude. Torvald only values her as an obedient wife who takes care of the household. He doesn’t seem to recognize her as an individual, so he always patronizes her pretending to be her protector.
Meanwhile, Dr. Rank always shows respect to Nora. He validates her feelings and thoughts whenever he stops by their house. Also, it seems like he shows much more interest in Nora’s personality and choices than Torvald. Moreover, later in the play, Dr. Rank reveals his true feelings. It appears that he had been secretly in love with Nora for years. He even offers to do any favor for her, no matter how big it is. How respectfully Dr. Rank treats women, especially Nora, is a massive contrast to Torvald’s negligible attitude towards female character. One man is more concerned about love and happy life, while the other is only worried about money, success, and social recognition.
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