Study Guide

William Wilson Genre

By Edgar Allan Poe


Horror or Gothic Fiction, Psychological Thriller and Suspense, Mystery

This is a Poe story, so we know it’s going to be Gothic fiction. The mingling of the supernatural (William’s bizarre doppelganger) with the real is disturbing and highly effective in creating tension and suspense. Doppelganger means ghostly double. The story is definitely a psychological exploration of its main character, and much of the story’s drama is in fact psychological rather than action-based. The mystery comes in the fact that we don’t know what the deal is with this second William Wilson, and we look for clues to help us out as the story progresses and the truth slowly unravels.