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The context of Frankenstein » Literary context » The doppelganger


A doppelganger is a German term, literally meaning a ‘double-goer', an apparition or double of a living person. Such a figure haunts the Ancient Mariner in Coleridge's poem of that name:

Like one, that on a lonesome road,
Doth walk in fear and dread,
And having turned round walks on,
And turns no more his head,
Because he knows, a frightful fiend
Doth close behind him tread.

‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner', lines 445-51

The idea of the doppelganger can be interpreted in a number of ways:

Use of doppelganger concept in Frankenstein

The use of the doppelganger in Frankenstein comes closest to the third of these interpretations:

(1772-1834) Samuel Taylor Coleridge was a poet, critic and philosopher and as a close friend of William Wordsworth was associated with the earliest phase of poetic Romanticism.