The motif of the doppelganger in short stories by edgar allan poe

In a theatrical adaptation of the story by Lance Tait was published. It is through the double that Medardus is prevented from marrying his half-sister Aurelie and that he recognizes his involvement in the murder of Euphemie and Hermogen.

During the first major encounter with the double, Wilson remarks that he was "madly flushed with Is it a motif in literary tradition. In The Pit and the Pendulum, the expectation of death, first by hanging, then with the pendulum, then into the pit, forces the narrator to confront his own mortality time and time again.

With the coming of adolescence the child, Medardus, begins to develop sexual urges and rebels against the authority of the monastery. Although he is about to fulfill his innermost desire and marry Aurelie, whom he associates with Saint Rosalia, Medardus openly admits that he is the murderer of Hermogen: Gordon Pym" is another where the two very similar friends go to sea and one alone comes back.

Thomas Ollive Mabbott, vol. Poe's own life is sometimes a dangerous conflict with the rational combining with the inutitive to deal with failure, addiction, tragedies, self doubt and the dangerous instability of the Romantic experiment itself, in which Poe was personally invested with less strong faith or hope in anything other than his Muse.

In both cases, however, the double provides an impetus for the protagonists' improvement through a process of duplication, separation, and substitution. Medardus, however, does not recognize the double as a manifestation of his repressed desires, but instead sees him as something strangely apart from himself: Mistaken by the entire family for the actual Count Viktorin, Medardus becomes Euphemie's lover and a conspirator to the murder of Hermogen.

Striking up a conversation with D— about a subject in which the minister is interested, Dupin examined the letter more closely.

Typically, Romantic literature abounds with references that illustrate the discrepancy between the "real" and the "ideal," that seek to express the sublime, the longing for mystical and spiritual unity, and the interaction between man and nature.

Often the source of the rivalry is a mystery, as in The Cask of Amontillado, where the narrator explains that a man called Fortunato has wronged him and expresses his desire for revenge without ever explaining the nature of the original wronging.

Unlike Wilson, who writes the story of his double in order to justify his own mistakes, Medardus writes his life story in order to relive the past as a kind of psychotherapy: Examples of Doppelganger in Literature Let us see some doppelganger examples and their role in literature: Sensing that Medardus is acting out of his own self-interest and the desire to gain his independence, Prior Leonardus implores him to leave the monastery and go on an important mission to Rome.

Sentences are balanced, with very few adjectives, and there is little concrete imagery beyond the description of Wilson's school. The Double in "William Wilson" and The Devil's Elixirs Patrick Labriola, Bonn, Germany In response to accusations that the horror in his stories was derived from German literary sources, Edgar Allan Poe claimed in the Preface for the Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque in that "if in many of my productions terror has been the thesis, I maintain that terror is not of Germany, but of the soul.

A few days later, Medardus again experiences the double. In Hoffmann's novel, an orphan child is brought up in a secluded monastery under serene and pious conditions.

Medardus's final stage of development begins with seeing his double being brought to the execution and ends with the writing of his memoirs at the monastery. He writes the check and Dupin produces the letter. The forester explains that the double "is said to have committed a terrible sin by misusing a relic and has been banned from the monastery" DE and that he exhibited uncontrollable sexual behavior by trying to seduce his daughter, "whose door he kicked in with his foot" DE Similar to Wilson, who refuses to accept the existence of his second self, Medardus represses the existence of his double Viktorin by causing him to fall from a ledge of a cliff into a dark abyss.

It troubles and harms its counterpart by putting bad thoughts and ideas in his or her head. In a moment of anger, Medardus poisons Euphemie and murders Hermogen in a fight. Since Viktorin slowly climbs out of the abyss and returns to haunt Medardus throughout the novel, one can see that the double and the sexual manifestations that he represents are only repressed and eventually surface in human form.

The historical background of the double is rooted in the philosophical, literary, and scientific theories of German Romanticism, which illustrate the Romantic poet's constant struggle within himself to reach beyond his own existence. The Captain discovers Laggatt swimming in the sea naked, helps him come aboard, and gives him his clothes to wear.


A few days later, Medardus again experiences the double. Alone together, the narrator asks Dupin how he found the letter. Through the psychological distance between the double and the self, the individual is able to evaluate his own behavior and to develop a conscience for his improvement.

Wilson is a child at a boarding school in England and grows up within the tranquil and solitary walls of the institution. As a respectable Victorian gentleman, Jekyll can never fulfill the evil desires existing in him.

William Wilson (short story)

From their very first encounter the double proves to be superior to Wilson, offering him advice and admonishing him for his wrongdoing. After the double exposes Wilson to his fellow students for cheating at cards, and after following him to the various capitals of Europe and stopping him from committing adultery, Wilson revolts and murders his double in a duel.


Poe avoided the use of extreme similies and similies in general as also was common in the hyper Gothic tales of his time. After drinking the forbidden elixir of Saint Anthony, that had been placed in his safekeeping, Medardus undergoes a change of personality and becomes a popular orator at the monastery.

Whereas Hoffmann employs the floor of the prison cell and the deep abyss of the "Teufelsgrund" as metaphors of the human subconscious, Poe draws upon the complex arrangement of rooms in the boarding school as analogous to the various parts of the human mind. I began to murmur-to hesitate-to resist" WW Even though Poe asserts that he borrowed the motif of the double in "William Wilson" from an article by Washington Irving, [5] it is well known that the latter also drew extensively on German literature for his short stories and sketches.

What is origin and development of this motif?. Short Stories by Edgar Allan Poe This is not a complete list of works by Poe.

These are my favorite stories and ones I feel are important and should be read by more people. The doppelganger motif undermines the separation between mind and body.

Poe represents this intimate connectivity between mind and body by making Roderick and Madeline biological twins. When sickness afflicts one sibling, for example, it contagiously spreads to the other. Example #2: William Wilson (By Edgar Allan Poe) William Wilson, a short story by Edgar Allan Poe, follows the theme of doppelganger.

William, the protagonist, meets another boy in school, who had the same name and looked surprisingly like him. Illustration from Edgar Allan Poe's short story "William Wilson" The Doppelganger Motif A doppelganger is a German term, literally meaning a “double-goer,” an apparition or double of a living person.

The Face in the Pool: Reflections on the Doppelganger Motif in The Fall of the House of Usher, by G. R. Thompson, Poe Newsletter Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Poe Studies - Poe Newsletter - The Face in the Pool: Reflections on the Doppelganger Motif in The Fall of the House of Usher.

Illustration from Edgar Allan Poe's short story "William Wilson" The Doppelganger Motif A doppelganger is a German term, literally meaning a “double-goer,” an apparition or double of a living person.

The motif of the doppelganger in short stories by edgar allan poe
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