How would you describe the miserable appearance of the ghost in Oscar Wilde's "The Canterville Ghost"?

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sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I believe that this question is asking about the ghost's first full appearance in the story.  That occurs in Part Two.  The Otis family has already attempted to remove the bloodstain, which of course reappeared.  The result of the reappearing blood is that the Otis family doesn't entirely discredit the possibility of a ghost haunting the house.

"I don't think it can be the fault of the Paragon Detergent," said Washington, "for I have tried it with everything. It must be the ghost."

The ghost of Sir Simon removes all doubt about his presence later that night.  By eleven at night, the entire Otis family is in bed.  At one in the morning, Mr. Otis wakes up because he hears a noise.  It sounds like clanking metal of some kind.  Annoyed, he gets out of bed, grabs a small bottle of oil, and opens the door to the hall.  He is immediately faced with the miserable and scary looking ghost of Sir Simon.  The ghost is dragging metal chains around.  He's wearing very ragged clothing, and he has glowing red eyes.  

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.

Personally, I'd be scared.  It's a ghost.  A scary looking ghost.  But Mr. Otis isn't concerned in the slightest.  He hands the ghost the oil, and tells him to use it on the rusty chains.  That way the entire family can stay sleeping.  Mr. Otis promptly turns around, closes the door, and goes back to bed.   

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The Canterville Ghost

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