Topic: Essays

Last updated: December 10, 2019

The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde is a scary and humorous book, set in an 1800 castle, also known as ‘Canterville Chase’. People who have experienced this castle before believed a ghost haunts the area. The Otis family are living here, ad have been warned by the residents, but Mr.

Otis, the father, does not believe in ghosts. The twins play some pranks on the ghost, and Mr. Otis offers the ghost some oil for his chains, but the ghost does not agree with him, as the story states: ‘The ghost stood there quite motionless’ and ‘a large pillow whizzed past his head!’ The Canterville ghost seems so surprised, because no one staying at the house before had got the courage to ask him to put oil on his chains! This also brings some humor into the story. Later on in the story, it quotes that ‘We shall have to take his chains from him’ ‘It would be quite impossible to sleep, with such a noise going on outside the bedrooms.’ Virginia, the daughter, expresses sympathy for the ghost, as she knows it has suffered the twins mean actions. However, the ghost befriends her, as it steals some of her belongings. The Otis family also spot a blood stain, and use Pinkerton and Paragon detergents. The next morning, the blood stain re-appears.

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They scrub it off again and again and again, but every morning, the stain comes back. The family become interested, but do not talk about anything to do with the ghost, as they go out for a drive and have a late supper. On a Sunday night, the family were alarmed by a crash in the hall. ‘A large suit of armour had become detached’, ‘While seated in a high- backed chair was the Canterville ghost, rubbing his knees with an expression of acute agony on his face.’ It also states: ‘The twins at once discharged the two pellets on him’ Now, again, the twins are up to mischief with the ghost. By now, the family held great sympathy for him, especially Virginia, and certainly not the twins! ‘The minister asked the ghost to hold up his hands!’ By now, the ghost was quite frustrated and angry, as the story says: ‘The ghost started up with a wild shriek of rage, and swept through them like a mist, extinguishing Washington Otis’s candle as he passed and so leaving them all in total darkness.

‘ The ghost admits he is lonely and unhappy, and a prophecy in the castle is about a child who can be the only one to make the angel of death have mercy on his soul. However, Mr. Simon asks Virginia to do so, and she needs to go to the garden of death and pray for the ghost.

Virginia agrees. Her family become worried and distressed, and keep searching for her, but they don’t find her. She returns at the castle the next morning with jewels that the ghost gave to her.

The story of Lord Canterville was on a stormy night, when he came out of his room, and stabbed himself three times in front of Washington Otis who was asleep in his bed. This tells the reader that Lord Canterville was certainly the ghost in the castle. In chapter iii, there is a simile: ‘On and on he glided, like an evil shadow.

‘ This describes he Canterville ghost’s type of walk, saying he moved so softly but in an evil way. The ghost feels sorry for himself, as he wanders the corridors, sulking. The twins however, learnt a lesson, as before they caused mischief with the ghost. In conclusion, The story is a funny tale, as the Otis family experience almost living with the Canterville ghost!


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