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William Wilson by Edgar Allan Poe – Review

William Wilson by Edgar Allan Poe – Review

by Alan D.D.

Not long ago, I found the chance to read one of my favorite authors’ short stories; a personal one, which gives the reader a private part of the writer’s life, how it was to be him at certain age and the perception he had about the world.

I feel a strange connection to Edgar Allan Poe, the tragic author who died with no fame or appreciation for his work in 1849, but after giving a quick look at William Wilson, an autobiographical short story he published ten years before dying, I knew there was something else in there to be discovered.

The story show us how his life started, with a few changes here and there for fiction matters, and how a simple behavior can mean the birth of a new creature, may it be fictional or real, depending on how things look like in the eyes of the reader.

Since the day it was born, this creature starts to follow its “father,” as we can call at the beginning of the tale, turning his life upside down by being rightful, honored and a correct citizen, his whole opposite, to say the least.

There’s a certain reality in Poe’s word when he describes what William Wilson, the character, means to the protagonist, Poe himself. His actions, despite oriented to the greater good, represent Poe’s decay in madness, depression and darkness.

Also, being the representation of his inner feelings, it looks like Poe may think of himself as a divided being, a human with two different sides that, although they try to do so, cannot stand each other, leading to a fatal end.

In general terms, we all can say that William Wilson is a light reading for almost all of the time before things start to get weird. Time literally flies away while we put ourselves into its pages, imagining we’re the protagonist and resurrect the old times in Poe’s life.

By this, I discovered that there also two different sides of myself, as I could see some of my decisions either on Poe or in Wilson, depending on its nature. Maybe it’s the law for every human being, to be divided and try to focus on the best side, whichever they may consider in that category.

Also, William Wilson show us, in a not so metaphorical way, what might happen if an inner war with ourselves last for a long time, how any person could end as a result. The best description could be to imagine all of the World’s conflict inside of us: the bombs, the screams, the destruction, the blood and death, mixed up, in our heads.

Nothing good can come out of it, that’s for sure, but I think it’s a price for not making any decision, not choosing a side to show and the other to hide, as it happened with the fictional Poe. Or, thinking a little bit more, maybe this is what happened with the real one, given the strange circumstances that surround his death.

One thing can be said for sure: Being this one of the not so sinister tales by Poe, it does have something that makes the reader think for a while, decorated with a decadent aesthetic and dark drama. Whoever the main character may be, the real or fictional Edgar Allan Poe, William Wilson is one of those stories we can hardly forget once we’ve read them for the very first time.


Alan D.D.
Writer and Journalist.

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Chrinstine
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