Characterization of William Wilson

Outer characterization

The main character of the short story “William Wilson” by Edgar Allan Poe is William Wilson. He was born in England, on the 19th of January 1809. He comes from a wealthy family (p. 15, ll. 29-30). His father and mother are “weak in body and mind” (p. 7, l. 1), so they cannot influence or discipline William as a child (p. 7, ll. 1-5). He attends a boarding school in a small town from ages 10 to 15, which he apparently leaves abruptly. Then he continues his studies at Eton and Oxford University. In attempting to escape his double, he travels a lot to places such as: Paris, Rome, Vienna, Berlin, Moscow, and Egypt. He likes to drink and plays cards. He also cheats at cards, making money off others. As the story progresses, it becomes clear that he is mentally unstable, which causes him to have hallucinations and delusions. At age 26, he appears to commit suicide in Rome, believing he is murdering his double.

William tells...

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