The Double In Edgar Allan Poe's William Wilson

1164 Words 5 Pages
William Wilson and his double

In Edgar Allan Poe’s William Wilson the feeling of the familiar, yet unknown is overwhelming the reader. The story of a young man who is being followed around wherever he goes, by a young man with a striking resemblance to himself is leaving the reader with an eerie feeling. Edgar Allan Poe was a master in writing gothic literature that would, and still does, creep the reader out, William Wilson is no exception. The short story can be, and has been analyzed in a various of ways and it is up to the reader to decide whether to believe that the second William Wilson is a ghostly double, an actual man or something else.
William Wilson is a classic example of the use of the ’Dobbelganger’ in literature. The second
…show more content…
The second William Wilson only speaks with a whispering voice. A character such as the second William Wilson leaves the reader with a feeling of the uncanny. A term used and described by Sigmund Freud, in his essay from 1919 The Uncanny. When experiencing the uncanny, the feeling of the unknown yet familiar is what comes to mind. It is a term often thought of and used in relation to gothic literature.
In this case it is clear that the familiar part of the uncanny lies within the remarkable resemblance between the two William Wilsons. The unknown feeling that helps create the feeling of the uncanny is the feeling of confusion, and the slight feeling of going mad as the reader tries to figure out whether the second Wilson is an illusion or a real person.
The first William Wilson mentions a couple of times that he seems to be the only one to recognize the struggle between the two
…show more content…
Gothic literature and psychoanalysis is linked to one another and that backs up the idea that the second William Wilson is an image of William Wilsons superego.
The second William Wilson also pictures an internal battle going on in the first William Wilsons mind. A battle between his superego and the id. The superego and the id are parts of Freuds three part division of the personality. The superego plays the role as a moral judge, the one that will make you question your desires, and stop you from doing wrong. The id on the other hand is the instinctual part that allows you to follow your desires.
In the end the first Willam Wilson commits the ultimate crime of murder, I believe that he has gone mad, since he does not realize it until he looks in the mirror and sees that he in fact has killed

Related Documents