Can you give an overview on the concept of the duality within the charaterization of William Willson .A Tale? : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

I am writing a single work/single element paper on Poe's William Wilson .A Tale and the duality within the two characters(doppelganger).

-- Anonymous, June 10, 2000



The tale, William Wilson was first printed in The Gift in Philadelphia in 1839 as William Wilson, A Tale. and is the story of a man of severely corrupt character who was unashamed and unrepentant of his constant evil pranks and crimes and his unimaginable lack of personal discipline. William Wilson is hounded throughout the story by his conscience that takes the form of an almost identical twin and who he slowly comes to recognize at the end of the tale as his moral self.

There is an excellent summary of this tale by David Grantz, a contributor to the Poe Decoder website. The URL address is: . It is titled That Spectre in My Path by David Grantz. Good luck and

Best regards,

-- Anonymous, June 13, 2000

Dear Michelle, I am extremly sorry that I do not have an answer to your question. However, I am writing a paper on William Wilson and if you found any good articles on this story I would appreciate if you could tell me their web address so i can access them also. Thank you.

-- Anonymous, September 20, 2000

Summary: William Wilson is the name given to the narrator of Poe's short story. William Wilson, a young student in a "prison-like" school, describes the school house and his experiences there with the typical haunting gloom of a Poe story. Strangely, a schoolmate of William Wilson's, who arrived on the same day and appeared almost physically identical to William Wilson, shared his name as well. Although they were "the most inseparable of companions," the narrator developed a potent hatred for his counterpart. In an odd encounter, the narrator sneaks by candlelight into his companion's bedroom, and steals a glimpse of William Wilson as he sleeps. In awe, the narrator hurriedly fled the chamber and the school, never to return again. Two years later, while at Oxford, the narrator's twin appears abruptly at a card game which William Wilson is handily winning, and exposes Wilson as a cheat. William Wilson is forced to leave Oxford immediately.

The narrator travels around Europe in search of revenge, always missing him. Finally, at a carnival in Rome, the William Wilsons meet. The narrator grabs the William Wilson from the "school-boy days,--the namesake, the companion, the rival" and violently stabs him to death. The dying Wilson utters, "You have conquered, and I yield. Yet henceforward art thou also dead--dead to the World, to Heaven, and to Hope!"

Importance of the work: "William Wilson" is an example of Poe's progress as a writer of fiction. In earlier works, the physical and mental identities of the characters are maintained. In "William Wilson," however, a battle between moral and physical identities is waged, and the moral identity wins (Quinn 287).

"William Wilson" is also important in that, although a work of fiction, it does contain historical elements of Poe's past. We see Poe's school and his schoolmaster (whose name actual name, Bransby, appears in the story) depicted. Although Poe adds his fair share of darkness and mystery, "William Wilson" reveals many facts about Poe's earlier years.

-- Anonymous, April 08, 2002

i have the same problem Please give me a hand.

-- Anonymous, September 16, 2002

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