“William Wilson” is the story of a man trapped by his own conscience and victim to his own overactive imagination. All of his attempts at escaping are necessarily doomed from the start; man cannot run from his alter ego, nor rid himself of conscience, nor break free of his own imagination. The text also raises issues of destiny or fate as an inescapable chain that binds us, and asks whether one’s natural predispositions can ever be circumvented.
William Wilson is trapped and haunted only by his own shame.
The second William Wilson is a real person who takes away the narrator’s freedom.