William Wilson.. HELP!!

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I am desperate for help on "William Wilson" a short story by Poe. I have to write a 3 page analysis and have no idea where to start, how to set it up, nothing even though it is a very broad topic. Someone please help me ASAP!

-- Anonymous, February 27, 2003


Look at the texts at www.eapoe.org and the article where Poe himslef compares his story to a curiously similar detail in a Hawthorne tale. Obviously this story istelf is one the many convluted tales about the double, the split self, the twin, the doppleganger, schizophrenia, in which it matters not so much whether the double is real or merely one entity but HOW they interplay in a divided psychology. For Poe of course it is the embodiment of "The Imp of the Perverse" added to the predilection all his villains and some heros have of blaming outside forces for their fall- while simultaneously knowing better.

"The Picture of Dorian Gray" and Poe's own "Oval Portrait" springs to mind for the character transference that William Wilson ascribes to unnatural forces. His use of an assumed name is very curious in that his double has the SAME notorious name while they both were publicly roaming the world. So which one is which if there are two, and who commits what crime...it gets perhaps too untrustworthy for the reader to appreciate. That he attacks himself at the end is clear, but who then exactly is he, besides being crazy or haunted? it is worth reading and rereading to try to get around the vagueness and the narrator to what Poe is trying to claim. Another infuriatingly suggestive story is "Tale from the Ragged Mountains" where much is hiding in possibility behind the story but the overt story never goes there.

-- Anonymous, February 28, 2003

I know there are 2 William Wilsons in this short story. And how i read it is by calling them wilson 1 and wilson 2. To me in this story i believe wilson 2, which is the one who is always showing up when wilson 1 is doing wrong, is a type of gaurdian angel. But he is the gaurdian angel that nobody wants. Because he shows up to keep Wilson 1 from doing wrong and when he does it doesnt do him any good. It always gets him in trouble. But he is the type of gaurdian angel that everybody can see cause it saids in the story that the people do see him, but they dont see is face cause he keeps to the shadows or either keeps his head down. Thats how i see it.

-- Anonymous, September 23, 2004

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