Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 11 December 2018

Abstract and Keywords

Poe’s stories of doubles (doppelgängers) from “William Wilson” to “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Cask of Amontillado” demonstrate a spectrum of uses for this device. In accordance with the tradition of using literary doubles to represent a character’s psychological struggle, Poe most frequently has the narrator’s threatening double represent his conscience or his inner judge, and the battle between the counterparts of the same identity ultimately involves an attempt to silence, evade, or eradicate an individual’s conscience. This essay argues that “Wilson” and “Cask” are themselves counterparts to each other in their divergent representation of the struggle with the double. “Wilson” shows the dire consequences for an individual in the attempted destruction of the conscience, whereas “Cask” more sinisterly suggests that one can emerge from this struggle with one’s own conscience successfully liberated of its restraint.

Keywords: Edgar Allan Poe, double, doppelgänger, William Wilson, The Cask of Amontillado, The Tell-Tale Heart, conscience

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.