Doppelganger refers to the appearance of a character that is a double or counterpart to another character in the same story. The doppelganger is usually similar in appearance and sometimes also in personality, but with a significant difference that highlights the contrasting traits of the two characters. This literary device is often used to create tension or suspense in a story, as the doppelganger may be a harbinger of danger or foreshadow a character’s downfall. The doppelganger is a powerful symbol that represents the dark or hidden aspects of a character’s psyche or the dangers of a split personality.
Examples of doppelganger:
“Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson, in which the respectable Dr. Jekyll has a dark alter ego named Mr. Hyde who is his doppelganger.
“Fight Club” by Chuck Palahniuk, in which the narrator has a split personality and his alternate self, Tyler Durden, serves as his doppelganger.
“The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde, in which the portrait of Dorian Gray serves as a kind of doppelganger that reflects the protagonist’s true, corrupted nature.
“The Double” by Fyodor Dostoevsky, in which a government clerk encounters a man who looks exactly like him but has a completely different personality.
“Black Swan” (film) by Darren Aronofsky, in which the protagonist, a ballerina named Nina, has a dark alter ego that serves as her doppelganger.
“The Prestige” by Christopher Priest, in which two magicians have a fierce rivalry that is complicated by the appearance of a mysterious doppelganger.
“The Strange Case of Dr. Couney” by Dawn Raffel, a non-fiction book that explores the life and career of a man who exhibited premature babies in incubators as a sideshow attraction, and the doppelganger who may have been his true identity.
“The Talented Mr. Ripley” by Patricia Highsmith, in which the protagonist Tom Ripley takes on the identity of another man and becomes his doppelganger.
“The Shadow” by Hans Christian Andersen, in which a man’s shadow takes on a life of its own and becomes his doppelganger.
“Us” (film) by Jordan Peele, in which a family encounters their doppelgangers during a vacation and must confront their own dark sides.