Double – counterpart, substitute, a person just like another The Double “The Double” in literature may be represented by twins or similar character s who seem alike in manner. Symbolically, the double may be “seen” in mirrors, bodies of water, or shiny objects capable of reflection. Shakespeare often used twins or mistaken identities as plot complications such as Lysander and Demetrius in A Midsummer’s Night Dream or Hero and her maid Margaret in Much Ado about Nothing. In A Midsummer’s Night Dream, Puck enchants Lysander by mistake instead of Demetrius. In Much Ado about Nothing, Hero’s maid Margaret is mistaken for her mistress. “The Secret Sharer” Joseph Conrad The Captain and the mysterious stranger, Leggett are interpreted to be double images. Yet one image haunts the other. Doppelganger –German for “double goer”, a mysterious double The doppelganger may be one entity, two people, or person and object. Mary Shelley - Frankenstein The novel portrays a creator haunted by his creation, a creation haunted by his creator. The Foil Foil – literally a leaf of bright metal placed under a jewel to increase its brilliance. In literature, the foil is any character who contrasts and enhances the distinctive qualities of another character. J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings has multiple foil doubles. Along with Frodo and Sam, other foils are Gandalf and Saruman. King Theoden of Rohan and King Denethor of Gondor Brothers Boromir and Faramir of Gondor Tolkien’s foils were all driven by the power of the Ring. Shakespeare’s Romeo and Mercutio have different views of love. Romeo – “Under love’s heavy burthen do I sink” Mercutio – “If love be rough with you, be rough with love.” A Separate Peace by John Knowles Knowles created two characters , Gene and Finny, whose differences as foils are more subtle. Although both young men strive to survive a competitive prep school and a world at war, they cope in vastly different ways. Gene is a realist, a pragmatist. Finny lives in a fantasy world. Gene confesses his wrong, tries to make amends. Finny pretends it never happened. Sometimes a minor character forces the foils to confront each other. Leper for example. The Chosen by Chaim Potok Potok creates two young American Jewish men coming of age during WWII. Reuven Malters is an orthodox Jew; Danny Saunders is a Hasidic Jew. Reuven and his father speak openly and honestly. Danny is raised in silence. He and his father speak only to study Talmud. Reuven rejects the life of a teacher to become a rabbi; Danny rejects the life of a tzaddik to become a teacher. Through Reuven’s friendship, Danny develops a “soul”, a compassion for others. Reuven learns tolerance. . . . A friendship that began in violence and grew in compassion. Doubles, doubles, foils and troubles . . . Comparing and contrasting literary doubles, doppelgangers, and foils expand our understanding of character development and theme. First consider the characters’ likenesses. What commonalities do they share? Use exact details (facts) and quotes from the text to support commentary noting the similarities. Next examine what makes the characters unique unto themselves. Do the characters have opposite world views? Do they react oppositely to the same circumstances? Is one the yin to the other’s yang? The Theme’s the Thing Finally, analyze what theme (observation about life) the storyteller is making by developing characters of such antithesis. How did each character evolve? Why? Theme topics to remember are good and evil, redemption and loss, choice and fate. Don’t be afraid to go through the looking glass! Works Cited Abrams, M.H. A Glossary of Literary Terms. Harcourt Brace: Fort Worth, 1999. Evans, Blakemore, Ed. The Riverside Shakespeare. Houghton Mifflin Co.: Boston, 1997. Harmon, William and C. Hugh Holman. A Handbook to Literature. Prentice Hall: Upper Saddle River, N.J., 2000. Tolkien, J.R.R. The Return of the King. Houghton Mifflin Co.: Boston, 1993.