illustration of a ghost standing behid an iron fence with its arm raised against a large mansion

The Canterville Ghost

by Oscar Wilde

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Who are the main characters in the story "The Canterville Ghost"?

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The story's main characters are the Canterville Ghost and the Otis family.

The Canterville Ghost, a former English lord named Sir Simon, murdered his wife centuries ago. For this crime, he is forced to walk the earth as a ghost. His job is to haunt Canterville Hall and frighten the residents. He would like to go to his final rest and stop being a ghost, but he needs someone of purity and faith to intercede and pray for him to die.

The Otis family consists of Mr. Hiram Otis, Mrs. Lucretia Otis, and their four children. They have one daughter, a beautiful teenage girl named Virginia, and three sons. Washington is the oldest child in the family and the twin boys, called Stars and Stripes, are the youngest. Being practical, hard-headed Americans without much sense of tradition, they do not believe in ghosts. Even when they realize the ghost is real, they are not afraid of it. Star and Stripes play so many practical jokes on Sir Simon that he is frightened of them.

Minor characters include Mrs. Umney, the housekeeper, and the young Duke of Chehsire, who falls in love with Virginia.

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The main characters in "The Canterville" ghost come down to two groups.  One group is the Otis family.  The other group is Sir Simon, the Canterville Ghost.  

Sir Simon has been haunting the house for a long time.  He murdered his wife, and then his brothers-in-law killed him for revenge.  He has been haunting the house ever since.  

The Otis family is made up of Mr. Otis, Mrs. Otis, Virginia Otis (the daughter), and the Otis Twins.  Virginia Otis is the only member of the Otis family that has any kind of sympathy toward Sir Simon.  In fact, she helps Sir Simon make peace with his past and move on to the after life.  The rest of the Otis family, especially the twins, enjoy pestering the Sir Simon and making his ghostly existence miserable.  

The last main character is the Duke of Cheshire.  He's in love with Virginia and they eventually end up getting married.  

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