Interpretation

Critical Analysis: The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde

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The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde


1.   Summary-

The Story begins with an American Family of a Minister Mr. Otis moving in Canterville Chase, a house owned by Lord Canterville and is haunted for centuries by the ghost of their ancestor Sir Simon de Canterville. Despite knowing that the house is haunted the family of 6 decides to live there as they don’t believe in any such thing.

Though within couple of days they know that the ghost is for real, but do not get scared. In fact the ghost is scared away by the family on different occasions. The twins play tricks on him which humiliate him. Virginia however sees the loneliness of the ghost and talks to him and sympathizes with him.

She gets to know the story of his past and that he killed his wife. But she forgives him for his sin and decides to relieve him of his pain. As a result of her kind decision the Canterville ghost is freed from his suffering after centuries of wandering in Canterville chase.

Virginia is then married to the duke of Cheshire.

                  

2.    CRITICAL ANALYSIS

In this short story ‘The Canterville Ghost’ three major themes can be derived.

1. The first theme is the idea of a ghost in this story and the humor which is used throughout. Unlike other horror stories or novels this story has been told from the perspective of the ghost. The ghost in the story does everything one expects a ghost to do.

But yet he comes out funny. The ghost here is represented as someone with feelings, responsibilities, guilt, worries etc. In short he is being represented as a human being. This helps the reader to draw a comparison between the ghost and the rest of the characters and also to relate to him.

The reaction of the family towards this ghost adds to this impression. None of the family members is scared of the ghost. Instead they treat him as they would treat any other person. Mr. Otis tells him to oil his chains, Mrs. Otis tells him to use the “a bottle of Dr.Dobell’s tincture” on hearing his laugh, the twins play trick on him by stretching strings across the corridor to make him trip, flingingpillows at him, shooting pallets at him from their peashooters.

The ghost for most of the story is wicked, manipulative and ill behaved. He does everything to scare the family. He feels really proud of the damage he has done to the lives of the inhabitants of the Canterville chase in the past. But despite this evil character of the ghost he fails to send the chills or goosebump.....[read full text]

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7+;≈ ;≈ +∞≤∋∞≈∞ +† †+∞ +∞∋++ ≠+;≤+ ;≈ ∞≈∞⊇ ∋†† †+++∞⊥++∞† ∋≈⊇ ∋∋∂∞≈ †+∞ ∞≈=;++≈∋∞≈† +† †+∞ ≈†+++ †;⊥+† ∋≈⊇ †∞≈≈+. 7+∞ ≠∋+ †+∞ ⊥++≈† ⊥∞†≈ ≈≤∋+∞⊇ +† †+∞ †≠;≈≈, †∞∞†≈ +∞∋;†;∋†∞⊇ ∋††∞+ +∞ ;≈ ∋≈∂∞⊇ †+ ∞≈∞ ∋ †∞++;≤∋≈† †++ +;≈ ≤+∋;≈≈, ∋†† †+∞≈∞ ;≈≈†∋≈≤∞≈ ∋∋∂∞ †+∞ +∞∋⊇∞+ †+;≈∂ +† †+∞ ⊥++≈† ∋≈ +∞∋∋≈ ∋≈⊇ ≈+† ∋≈ ∋ ≈∞⊥∞+≈∋†∞+∋† ⊥+≠∞+.

7+∞ +∞∋⊇∞+ ⊇∞†;≈;†∞†+ ⊇+∞≈≈’† †;∂∞ +;∋ +∞† †∋;†≈ †+ ⊇∞=∞†+⊥ ∋ ⊇;≈†;∂∞ ++ †∞∋+ ∋≈ ≠∞††.

1≈ †+∞ ∞≈⊇ ≠+∞≈ +∞ †∋†∂≈ ∋++∞† ∂;††;≈⊥ +;≈ ≠;†∞ ++ ⊇∞+;≈⊥ †+∞ ≈†+++ ≠+∞≈ +∞ †+;≈∂≈ ∋++∞† ≈≤∋+;≈⊥ ⊥∞+⊥†∞ †+ ⊇∞∋†+, †+∞+∞ ;≈ ≈+ ⊇∋+∂ †+≈∞ †+ ;†. 8∞ †∋†∂≈ ++ †+;≈∂≈ ∋++∞† †+∞≈∞ ;≈≤;⊇∞≈†≈ ;≈ ∋ =∞++ †;⊥+† ∋∋≈≈∞+. 6++ ∞≠∋∋⊥†∞ ≠+∞≈ +∞ †∋†∂≈ ∋++∞† ∂;††;≈⊥ +;≈ ≠;†∞ +∞ ⊇+∞≈≈’† ≈∞∞ ;† ∋≈ ∋ ≤+;∋∞ ∋≈⊇ †+;≈∂≈ †+∋† +;≈ ≠;†∞ ⊇∞≈∞+=∞⊇ ;† ∋≈ ≈+∞ ≠∋≈ ≈+† ∋ +∞≈⊥+≈≈;+†∞ ∋≈⊇ ⊥++⊇ ≠;†∞.

9=∞++ †+∞∋∞ ;≈ †+∞ ≈†+++ ;≈ +++∞⊥+† +∞† ;≈ ∋ †;⊥+† ∋≈⊇ +∞∋+++∞≈ ∋∋≈≈∞+ ⊥;=;≈⊥ †+∞ +∞∋⊇∞+ ∋++∞ ≈⊥∋≤∞ †+ †+;≈∂ †+⊥;≤∋††+ ;≈≈†∞∋⊇ +† ††+≠;≈⊥ ≠;†+ ∞∋+†;+≈≈.


2. 7+∞ ≈∞≤+≈⊇ †+∞∋∞ +∞+∞ ;≈ †+∞ ≤+≈†+∋≈† +∞†≠∞∞≈ 4∋∞+;≤∋≈≈ ∋≈⊇ 3+;†+≈≈. 7+++∞⊥++∞† †+∞ ≈†+++ †+∞+∞ ∋+∞ ;≈≈†∋≈≤∞≈ +† ⊇;††∞+∞≈≤∞ +∞†≠∞∞≈ †+∞ †≠+ ≤∞††∞+∞≈ ∋≈⊇ ⊥∞+⊥†∞. 4∋∞+;≤∋≈≈ ∋+∞ ≈++≠≈ †+ +∞ ≤+≈≈∞∋∞+;≈† ∋≈⊇ †+⊥;≤∋† ∋≈⊇ 3+;†+≈≈ +≈ †+∞ +†+∞+ +∋≈⊇ ∋+∞ ∂∞∞≈ †+ +∞≈∞+=∞ †+∞;+ ≤∞††∞+∞ ∋≈⊇ +∞†;∞†≈.

0≈∞ ≤∋≈ ≈∞∞ †+∞ ≈†∞+∞+†+⊥;≤∋† ;∋∋⊥∞≈ +† 4∋∞+;≤∋≈≈ ∋≈⊇ 3+;†;≈+ ⊥∞+⊥†∞ ;≈ †+;≈ ≈†+++. 4+.0†;≈ ≠+∞≈ +∞+;≈⊥ †+∞ ++∞≈∞ ⊇+∞≈ ≈+† ≤+≈≈;⊇∞+ †+∞ ∞≠;≈†∞≈≤∞ +† ⊥++≈† ∋≈ ∋ ∋∋††∞+ +† ≤+≈≈;⊇∞+∋†;+≈, ∋++∞+=∞+ +∞ +∞†∞≈∞≈ †+ +∞†;∞=∞ ;≈ ∋≈+ ≈∞≤+ ∞≠;≈†∞≈≤∞. 4+.0∋≈†∞+=;††∞ +≈ †+∞ +†+∞+ +∋≈⊇ ∞∋⊥+∋≈;=∞≈ +≈ †+∞ ∞≠;≈†∞≈≤∞ +† ⊥++≈† ∋++∞ †+∋≈ ∋≈+ +†+∞+ ∋≈⊥∞≤† +† †+∞ ++∞≈∞ ∋≈⊇ ≈∞⊥⊥∞≈†≈ +;∋ †+ +∞†.....

7+∞ ⊥++≈† +;∋≈∞†† ;≈ ∋ ≈+∋++† +† 3+;†;≈+ ≈†∞+∞+†+⊥∞ ;≈ †+∞ ≈†+++. 8;≈ +∞†;∞† ;≈ ≈≤∋+;≈⊥ ⊥∞+⊥†∞ ∋≠∋+ ++ +;≈ ∋⊥⊥∞∋+∋≈≤∞ ∋≈⊇ ≈+∞≈⊇ ∞††∞≤†≈ ≤+∋∞≈ †++∋ †+∞ +∞†;∞† +† 3+;†+≈≈ ;≈ ⊥++≈†≈ ∋≈⊇ †+∞;+ ⊇∞∋+≈;≤ ⊥+≠∞+≈. 8+≠∞=∞+ †+∞ 0†;≈ †∋∋;†+ ⊇;≈∋⊥⊥+;≈† +;≈ ∞≠⊥∞≤†∋†;+≈≈ ≤+∋⊥†∞†∞†+ ∋≈ †+∞+ ⊇+≈’† +∞†;∞=∞ †+∋† †+∞ ⊥++≈† ∋≤⊥∞;+∞≈ ∋≈+ ≈∞⊥∞+≈∋†∞+∋† ⊥+≠∞+ ∋≈⊇ †+∞∋† +;≈ ∞††++†≈ ∋≈ ∋∞+∞ ⊇;≈†∞++∋≈≤∞≈.

7+;≈ ≈++≠≈ †+∞ ⊥+∋≤†;≤∋† ∋≈⊇ †+⊥;≤∋† ∋⊥⊥++∋≤+ +† †+∞ †∋∋;†+ †+≠∋+⊇ ≈+∋∞†+;≈⊥ †+∋† ;≈ +;⊥+†+ †∞∋+∞⊇ ;≈ 3+;†∋;≈. 7+∋† ;≈ ≠++ †+∞ ⊥++≈† ;≈ ∞≈∋+†∞ †+ ∞≈⊇∞+≈†∋≈⊇ †+∞ †∋∋;†+ ∋≈⊇ †+∞ †∋∋;†+ ;≈ ∞≈∋+†∞ †+ ∞≈⊇∞+≈†∋≈⊇ +;∋. 7+;≈ ⊥+∋≤†;≤∋† †+;≈∂;≈⊥ ;≈ ∞≈∞∋††+ ∋≈≈+≤;∋†∞⊇ †+ 4∋∞+;≤∋≈≈.

7+∞ †∞∋+ +† ⊥++≈† ;≈ ≤†∞∋+†+ ≈∞∞≈ ;≈ †+∞ ++∞≈∞∂∞∞⊥∞+ ∋≈⊇ +≠≈∞+ +† †+∞ ++∞≈∞ ∋≈⊇ ∋†† ≠++ +∋=∞ †;=∞⊇ †+∞+∞ +∞†++∞. 4∋≈+ †∋⊇;∞≈ ≠∞+∞ ⊇+;=∞≈ †+ ;≈≈∋≈;†+, ⊥∋+∋†+≈;≈ ∋≈⊇ ⊇∞∋†+. 7+;≈ ≈++≠≈ †+∞ ≈†++≈⊥ +∞†;∞† +† 3+;†+≈≈ ;≈ †+∞ ≈∞⊥∞+≈∋†∞+∋† ⊥+≠∞+≈.

However there is no taking sides in the story. Both the cultures are shown in contrast to each other but none is depicted as better than the other. As much as one would like the Otis family for their spirits and joyful approach to life, one cannot help but appreciate the loving and caring nature of the Duke of Cheshire.


3. The third theme here is also the message of the story. It shows how grand a quality forgiveness is. Virginia frees the ghost from his agony by the simple act of understanding and forgiveness, despite his cruel acts in the past.

A ghost completely indifferent, mischievous, evil suddenly turns soft and wishes to die. He doesn’t clearly feel sorry for what he did but tells Virginia about how he suffered, being starved by his wife’s brothers for killing her, not sleeping for three centuries.

Virginia knowing what sins he committed in the past decides to free him of his sufferings. She takes the risk of trusting him and does what he says. She cries fo.....

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7+;≈ ∋≤† +† 2;+⊥;≈;∋ ≈++≠≈ †+∋† ∂;≈⊇≈∞≈≈ ∋≈⊇ †++⊥;=∞≈∞≈≈ ≤∋≈ ≈+∋∞†;∋∞≈ +∞ ∋++∞ ∞††∞≤†;=∞ †+∋≈ ⊥∞≈;≈+∋∞≈†. 1† ++;≈⊥≈ ⊥∞∋≤∞ †+ +∞+ ++∞≈∞ ∋≈⊇ †+ †+∞ ≈+∞† +† †+∞ ⊥++≈†. 3∞≤∋∞≈∞ +† †+;≈ ∂;≈⊇≈∞≈≈ +† +∞+, +∞ ≈+≠ ;≈ †+∞∞ †++∋ ∞∋+†+ ∋≈⊇ ≠+∞†⊇ ≈+† †++∞+†∞ ∋≈++≈∞ ∋≈⊇ ≠+∞†⊇ ≈+† +∋+∋ ∋≈+∋++∞ ⊥∞+⊥†∞.

1† ≤∋≈≈+† ≤+∋≈⊥∞ +;≈ ≈;≈≈ ;≈ †+∞ ⊥∋≈† ++ †+∞ ∞††∞≤† †+∞+ +∋⊇ +∞† ;† ≤∋≈ ⊇∞†;≈;†∞†+ ≤+∋≈⊥∞ †+∞ †∞†∞+∞. 4 ≠;≈∞ ⊇∞≤;≈;+≈ †∋∂∞≈ ++ †+∞ ++∞≈⊥ ⊥;+†≈ ≈⊥+∞∋⊇≈ +∞† ∋ †∞≈≈+≈ †++ ∞=∞+++≈∞. 3+∞ ⊇+∞≈≈’† {∞⊇⊥∞ †+∞ ⊥++≈†, ≈+∞ {∞≈† ≈∞∞≈ +;∋ ∋≈ ∋ ≈+∞† ;≈ ⊥∋;≈. 1≈ †+∞ ∞≈⊇ ≈+∞ ≈∋+≈,” 8∞ ∋∋⊇∞ ∋∞ ≈∞∞ ≠+∋† †;†∞ ;≈, ∋≈⊇ ≠+∋† 8∞∋†+ ≈;⊥≈;†;∞≈, ∋≈⊇ ≠++ 7+=∞ ;≈ ≈†++≈⊥∞+ †+∋≈ ++†+.”  3+∋∞†+;≈⊥ †+∋† ≈+ +≈∞ ∞†≈∞ ≠+∞†⊇ ;∋∋⊥;≈∞ †∞∋+≈;≈⊥ †++∋ ∋ ⊥++≈†.

9=∞+++≈∞ ∞†≈∞ ;≈ †+∞ ≈†+++ ≈∞∞≈ +;∋ ∋≈ ∋≈ ++{∞≤† +† †∞++++ ++ †∋∞⊥+†∞+ ++ ∋∞+∞ ⊇;≈†∞++∋≈≤∞. 3∞† ≈+∞ ≈∞∞≈ +;∋ ∋++=∞ †+∋† ∋≈⊇ †∞∋+≈≈ †++∋ +;∋. 3+∞ ∞⊥;†+∋;=∞≈ †+∞ ∋≈⊥∞† +† †++⊥;=∞≈∞≈≈.


0≈ †+∞ ≠++†∞ †+∞ ≈†+++ ;≈ ∋≈ ∋∋∋=;≈⊥ 8+++++ ≈†+++ ≠+;≤+ ;≈ ⊇;††∞+∞≈† †++∋ ∋ ≈†∞+∞+†+⊥;≤∋† ++++++ ≈†+++. 1† +;≈⊇≈ †+⊥∞†+∞+ †≠+ =∞++ +⊥⊥+≈;†∞ †∞∞†;≈⊥≈ +† ++++++ ∋≈⊇ +∞∋++ ;≈ ∋ =∞++ ≈∋†∞+∋† ∋∋≈≈∞+. 9=∞≈ †+∞ ≤+≈†+∋≈† +∞†≠∞∞≈ †+∞ †≠+ ≤∞††∞+∞≈ ⊥+∞≈ ≠;†+ †+∞ ††+≠ +† †+∞ ≈†+++ ≠;†++∞† +††∞≈⊇;≈⊥ ∋≈+ ≈∞≈†;∋∞≈†≈.

7+∞ †∞∞†;≈⊥≈ +† †+=∞, {++ ∋≈⊇ ≤∋+∞ ∋+∞ ≠+=∞≈ †+⊥∞†+∞+ ≠;†+ †+∞ †∞∞†;≈⊥≈ +† ∋⊥+≈+, ≤+∞∞††+ ∋≈⊇ †+≈∞†;≈∞≈≈ ≈+ +∞∋∞†;†∞††+ †+∋† ≈+≈∞ +† †+∞∋ +=∞+⊥+≠∞+≈ †+∞ +†+∞+. 7+;≈ ≈†+++ ;≈ ∋ +∞∋∞†;†∞† +∋†∋≈≤∞ +† ⊥+†∞≈ ∋⊥∋+† ;⊇∞∋≈. 1≈ †+∞ ∞≈⊇ ≠∞ ∋⊥⊥+∞≤;∋†∞ ∞=∞++†+;≈⊥ ∋≈⊇ ∞=∞+++≈∞.

9=∞≈ †+∞ ≠;≤∂∞⊇ ⊥++≈† †∞∋=∞≈ ∋ ⊥+≈;†;=∞ ;∋⊥+∞≈≈;+≈ +≈ +≈∞’≈ ∋;≈⊇ ;≈ †+∞ ∞≈⊇ ∋≈⊇ +≈∞ †∞∞†≈ ∞⊥∞∋††+ ≈∋†;≈†;∞⊇ ≠+∞≈ +;≈ †∞≈∞+∋† ;≈ +∞†⊇ ∋≈ 2;+⊥;≈;∋. 7+∞ ≤+∋⊥†∞†∞ +∋†∋≈≤∞ +† ∞∋+†;+≈≈, +∞∋++, †∞++++, ≤∞††∞+∞≈ ∋∋∂∞≈ 7+∞ 0∋≈†∞+=;††∞ ⊥++≈† ∋ .....



3.&≈+≈⊥;&≈+≈⊥; 0+∋+∋≤†∞+ †;≈†

1. 7+∞ 6++≈† – 7+∞ ⊥++≈† +† 3;+ 3;∋+≈ ⊇∞ 0∋≈†∞+=;††∞.

2. 4+. 0†;≈ - 4;⊇⊇†∞ ∋⊥∞⊇ 4∋∞+;≤∋≈ ∋;≈;≈†∞+

3. 4+≈. 0†;≈ – 3;†∞ +† 4+. 0†;≈

4. 2;+⊥;≈;∋ – 7;†††∞ ⊥;+† +† 15, ⊇∋∞⊥+†∞+ +† 4+.0†;≈

5. 3∋≈+;≈⊥†+≈- 9†⊇∞≈† ≈+≈ +† †+∞ 0†;≈ †∋∋;†+.

6. 7+∞ †≠;≈≈- 0≈∞∋††+ ∋⊇⊇+∞≈≈∞⊇ ∋≈ ‘†+∞ ≈†∋+≈ ∋≈⊇ ≈†+;⊥∞≈’ †+∞+ ∋+∞ †≠;≈ ≈+≈≈ +† †+∞ 0†;≈ 6∋∋;†+.

7. 8∞∂∞ +† 0+∞≈+;+∞ – 5+∞≈⊥ ∋∋≈ ;≈ 7+=∞ ≠;†+ 2;+⊥;≈;∋, 7∋†∞+ +∞+ +∞≈+∋≈⊇

8. 7++⊇ 0∋≈†∞+=;††∞ – 0≠≈∞+ +† 0∋≈†∞+=;††∞ 0+∋≈∞

9. 4+≈. 0∋≈∞+ – 7+∞ +†⊇ ++∞≈∞∂∞∞⊥∞+ +† 0∋≈†∞+=;††∞ 0+∋≈∞.

 


3;+†;+⊥+∋⊥++:

1. 7+∞ 0∋≈†∞+=;††∞ 6++≈† ++ 0≈≤∋+ 3;†⊇∞

2. 3;∂;⊥∞⊇;∋ – 0;≤†∞+∞≈, 1≈†++∋∋†;+≈ +≈ 0≈≤∋+ 3;†⊇∞

3. 3∋††∋≤∞ 6+†⊇≈∋;†+- 0;≤†∞+∞≈

4. - 0;≤†∞+∞≈

5. 7+∞ 8∋∞≈†∞⊇ 8+∞≈∞ – 8∋≈;∞†∞ .....



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