Canterville Ghost Summary 3

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The Canterville Ghost, by Oscar Wilde, begins when Mr. Otis and his family come to live in the Canterville Chase, even though they were advised not to, by Lord Canterville. The latter is of the opinion that the Canterville Chase is haunted. Mr. Otis says that he will take the furniture as well as the Ghost at valuation.

The Otis family consists of Mrs. and Mr. Otis, their daughter Virginia, their twin sons and their eldest son, Washington. Mrs. Umney is the housekeeper and the Duke of Cheshire, who wants to marry Virginia. Shortly after they start living in the house, no one can deny the presence of Sir Simon de Canterville. Noises like those of clanking chains, re-appearing bloodstains on the floor, by the fireplace can be witnessed by the family members. But these signs do not frighten the family at all. Mr. Otis even gets up on hearing the clanking chains and offers the ghost a lubricant for the same. The ghost tries to appear in front of the family in the most terrifying guises, but the family does not feel scared at all. At this point, the ghost starts feeling humiliated.

The family, time and again keeps offering practical solutions to all the problems that the ghost poses in front of the family, like washing the red blood stains with Pinkerton's Champion Stain Remover and Paragon Detergent: a quick fix, like the Tammany Rising Sun Lubricator. On the other hand, the ghost falls victim to tricks like trip wires, pea shooters, butter-slides, and falling buckets of water. In a particularly comical scene, he is scared by the sight of a ghost set up by the twins.

We get to know about the ghost from his own viewpoint. He displays emotions of bravery, fear, sadness, and depression and weakness. He shares some of these feelings with Virginia, who he thinks is different from all the other members of the family. He also tells her his backstory, about his wife, Lady Eleanor de Canterville, and Virginia listens to him patiently.

Sir Simon de Canterville tells Virginia that she should weep and pray for him, since he has no tears of his own. He also asks her to accompany him to the angel of death and request Death to let him pass on. Virginia agrees and disappears with Sir Simon to the Garden of Death. Here, she bids the ghost goodbye. She comes back to this world, carrying a lot of jewels. She lets others know that Sir Simon has passed on to the next world.

Sir Simon teaches Virginia the meaning of Life and that of Death. She also learns that Love is stronger than both. At the end of the story, Virginia is seen getting married to the Duke of Cheshire, once they have both attained marriageable age.


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