Short Stories with Doppelgangers

A character in these selections encounters their double or twin, usually in appearance and behavior.

Duality in Short Stories

William Wilson | Edgar Allan Poe

William Wilson relates how he suddenly turned evil. He describes the large house where he went to school, and its strict principal, a pastor. There is another student just like William – he has the same name, build, and style of clothing.

Read “William Wilson”

The Secret Sharer | Joseph Conrad

The new captain of a ship is taking the night watch when he sees a man swimming to the side of the ship. The man comes aboard. The captain learns the man was under arrest on his own ship and escaped. The captain has to decide what to do with him.

Read “The Secret Sharer”

The Red-Headed League | Arthur Conan Doyle

Sherlock Holmes is visited by Mr. Jabez Wilson, a man with striking red hair. Wilson had responded to an ad in the paper from the Red-Headed League. He was hired to copy from the encyclopedia for four hours a day. One day he showed up for work but the League was gone without explanation.

Read “The Red-Headed League”

The Tell-Tale Heart | Edgar Allan Poe

An unnamed narrator describes how he killed a man; he tries to convince his listener of his sanity and wisdom.

Read “The Tell-Tale Heart”

Markheim | Robert Louis Stevenson

Markheim goes to a shop under the guise of looking for a present for someone. He really has murder on his mind, so he can then steal the dealer’s money and goods.

Read “Markheim”

The Other | Jorge Luis Borges

Borges recounts a meeting he had about three years prior. A man sits next to him on a bench. He believes it to be a younger version of himself. He tries to convince the other man of this.

Read “The Other”