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William Wilson Opinion

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William Wilson is the main character in Poe’s short story “William Wilson. ” Poe tackles different kinds of themes through his story revolving around human nature and society in general. Here Poe explores the theme of doppelgangers. At the end of the story we learn that William Wilson’s double is not a real person, but his darker side. What Poe tries to demonstrate in his writing is that we all have two sides to our personality. Even though we may not show them, unlike he did, we have other parts of us that think differently.

Through out his story we visit many periods of times in Wilson’s life, from his youth until his death. At first Wilson’s alter ego appears to be his conscience, giving him advice but by the end of the story, his double turns out to be more of a judge. Everything he did was influenced by his “other side,” he was not fully aware of. He traveled the world trying to escape his double, limiting him from success, but he was never able to. Until his imminent death arrived.

Interestingly enough no one but William seems to notice the similarity between the two characters. For Poe, your sense of good and your sense of bad are clear, it is something you learned when you were younger and are supposed to carry out for the rest of your life. But William evolves through out the story. His connection with his double is private, based on a complex relationship with love and hate we can see regular evolution of Wilson’s morality through out the story by observing his deteriorating relationship with his doppelganger.

Society here is represented by the schools he attends, his gambling partners in Oxford, and the end the Masquerade Ball in Rome. These elements don’t play a crucial part if William’s life, they are presented more as a background to the analysis of Wilson’s personality. The ending of the story is rather depressing for the resolution of the double identity problem: instead of the two parts of Wilson’s personality being reconciled we witness the triumph of one over the other.

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