College Honors Program

Date of Creation


Document Type


First Advisor

Prof. Olga Partan


This thesis is dedicated to the concept of the double character in literature and how such characters were utilized by authors Fyodor Dostoevsky in Crime and Punishment (1866) and Vladimir Nabokov in Lolita (1955). First, this thesis discusses the theoretical aspects of the double—a villainous character who mirrors another character in some way, whether in appearance or in their actions— and the religious, psychological, philosophical, and societal roots of the concept of a double in literature. Then it explores how double characters in Dostoevsky and Nabokov’s works serve a crucial role in their novels by mirroring the worst traits of each story’s protagonist, giving the protagonists introspection into themselves and their own failings. From this interaction, the protagonists are motivated to either better themselves to avoid becoming like their double, or conform to the wicked example set by their double. By analyzing this trope and these novels in particular, this thesis looks to explore these protagonists’ relationships with their doubles—and through them their own dark nature—and to compare how these two artists employed the same character concept in their works, showing both the differences and similarities between the two.


Reader: Prof. Amy Adams