Introduction to the book


‘The Canterville ghost’ is a story by Oscar Wilde about a haunted mansion with the ghost of Sir Simon, published in 1887. The story begins with the Otis family buying the Canterville chase, despite of all the warnings and incidents told by Lord Canterville. The story is followed by several hilarious events in which the ghost fails to scare the American family, instead the family troubles the ghost so much that he didn’t even leave his chamber. At the end, the Ghost gains redemption and is freed with the help of Virginia.


The cover-page of the book-Source: Iclassicscollection


  1. Sir Simon de Canterville – The Canterville ghost since 1584, Murdered his wife

  2. Mr. Hiram B. Otis- American Minister. Bought the Canterville chase mansion, Critic of the British traditions and people

  3. Mrs. Otis- New York belle, Handsome middle-aged woman, animal spirits

  4. Virginia- Daughter of Mr and Mrs Otis, kind and forgiving, Helped Sir Simon gain redemption

  5. The Twins- Sons of Mr and Mrs Otis. Mischievous, always troubling the ghost

About the Author

Biography, Famous works and Awards

Oscar Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) was a playwright and an Irish poet. His full name is Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde. English writers John Ruskin and Walter Pater impressed Wilde on importance of art in life. His famous works include Novel, ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ (1891), and comic masterpieces ‘Lady Windermere’s Fan’ (1892) and ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ (1895).

He won ‘Retro Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation’ and others.


The Author- Source : Biography



  1. The Canterville Ghost, a 1944 Hollywood movie with Charles Laughton in the lead role.

  2. The Canterville Ghost, a 1962 BBC television drama featuring Bernard Cribbins.

  3. The Canterville Ghost, a 1988 animated television special.

  4. A radio dramatization was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on New Year's Eve 1992.

  5. The Canterville Ghost, a 1996 film, starring Patrick Stewart.

  6. The Canterville Ghost, a 2001 film by Burbank Films Australia.

  7. Bhoothnath, a 2008 Bollywood movie adaptation[3]

  8. A graphic novel version published by Classical Comics in 2010 .

  9. The Canterville Ghost, an upcoming animated feature film with the voices of Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, and Miranda Hart


The 1996 Movie- Source: Amazon


  1. The Canterville Ghost is an opera by the Russian composer Alexander Knaifel

  2. "The Canterville Ghost" is a song by the Austrian symphonic metal band Edenbridge. The song is preceded by an intro track named "The Canterville Prophecy".

  3. "El Fantasma de Canterville" is a song by the Argentinian musician Charly García

  4. Canterville – The musical is a musical by Flavio Gargano, Robert Steiner and Valentina De Paolis

  5. The Canterville Ghost opera by Gordon Getty.

  6. "Dark Depth" is a song by the Serbian thrash metal band Alister from the album Obscurity, heavily influenced by Oscar Wilde's story.

Themes highlighted


The innocence in the text is reflected by Virginia Otis. Her kindness and sympathetic nature add to the theme of innocence. The ghost too felt the kindness, sympathy and innocence and hence connected with Virginia. He felt Virginia would understand her situation and wouldn’t be too judgmental. His sinful past and corrupt deeds would not his plea be answered by the Angel of death. Hence, it was Virginia who interceded in his behalf and lifted the curse and granted him redemption.


The Otis family and the ghost- Source :Astound Us

Peace and Forgiveness

The ghost, at first seems to contempt with his life with disrupting and scaring others. But as the decades pass, and people he once knew were dead and he was facing the cruelties of time, he longed for redemption and eternal peace. Virginia is the symbol of forgiveness and kindness. She embodies the narrative with forgiveness. She prays for the atonement of the ghost’s soul, his redemption and ensures his safe passage to his afterlife. Amidst the theme of comedy, Forgiveness, peace and love brings forward the serious concerns.

Tradition, Shame and Cultures

The ghost represents the decade long traditions and heritage of the Canterville family. Even though his presence is more of a nuisance, it’s still considered and referred to as the legacy by Lord Canterville. The ghost traces back their family legacy. Because of his reputation, the ghost feels the shame and failure of not able to scare the Otis family. His identity is threatened and he continues to stay out of the ways of the Otis family.

The conflict between the cultures of British and American people. Mr Otis represents the radical American philosophies of life. He disregards the presence of the ghost and says to even buy the ghost if possible. On the other hand, the British people are tend to possess respect for their past, legacy and individual ranks and status.

Reviews by other readers

” A bounty of clever from start to finish, Wilde's tale is charming, engaging and pitch-perfect.”- A reader on Goodreads

“The story is well-written, well-paced, and just plain fun to read.” Paquita Maria Sanchez, a critic on Goodreads from Ireland.


The Lubricant Scene- Source: People

Personal Reviews and Opinions

I wasn’t fond of the horror genre that much, and did not even know about existence of a genre, called Horror- Comedy. This book was a supplementary addition to my class 11th syllabus. I was intrigued as well as suspicious of the story. The story turned out to be a gem. Its just not your regular ghost story, it has several layers of politics and traditions and love. Each and every character represents different things and ways of living. The political tiff is subtly highlighted. The story is a cute ghost story as one can say. It wasn’t scary, rather funny and pitiful. The old crusty Canterville ghost turned out to be the one the readers sympathised with. At one moment there is humour and the other second you are shedding a tear. Wilde penned out complexities with such simple yet impactful narrative. The story is recommended for a refreshing yet humorous read.