The Canterville Ghost Questions and Answers
by Oscar Wilde

The Canterville Ghost book cover
Start Your Free Trial

Describe the ghost & his first meeting with Mr. Otis in "The Canterville Ghost."  

Expert Answers info

Jonathan Beutlich, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseTeacher (K-12), Professional Writer

bookB.A. from Calvin University

bookM.A. from Dordt University

calendarEducator since 2014

write6,376 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Science, and History

Sir Simon's first meeting with Mr. Otis is hilarious.  It's hilarious, because Mr. Otis's response is completely unexpected.  The encounter starts off spooky enough.  It is late at night, and everybody is asleep.  Sir Simon enters the scene, and he is rattling his chains and making all kinds of spooky noises.  Mr. Otis calmly puts on his slippers and grabs some oil.  He steps out into the hall and is confronted face to face with Sir Simon the ghost.  The description is as follows:

Right in front of him he saw, in the wan moonlight, an old man of terrible aspect. His eyes were as red burning coals; long grey hair fell over his shoulders in matted coils; his garments, which were of antique cut, were soiled and ragged, and from his wrists and ankles hung heavy manacles and rusty gyves.

I'd be scared.  Red burning eyes, gross hair, soiled clothes, and manacles.  If that was a real person, I would be scared.  The fact that it is a ghost is even more terrifying.  But the amazing part about the encounter is that Mr. Otis isn't scared.  At all.  He's completely calm.  Perhaps even a bit annoyed.  Mr. Otis simply, and calmly, tells Sir Simon to be quiet, oil up his chains, and let everybody sleep. 

"My dear sir," said Mr. Otis, "I really must insist on your oiling those chains, and have brought you for that purpose a small bottle of the Tammany Rising Sun Lubricator. It is said to be completely efficacious upon one application, and there are several testimonials to that effect on the wrapper from some of our most eminent native divines. I shall leave it here for you by the bedroom candles, and will be happy to supply you with more, should you require it." With these words the United States Minister laid the bottle down on a marble table, and, closing his door, retired to rest.

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial