What character traits do Lord Canterville and Mr. Hiram Otis have in common?

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kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The characters of Hiram Otis and Lord Canterville appear very different in "The Canterville Ghost," but, looking closer, we can see a number of similarities.

First of all, both men are very firm in their beliefs. This is demonstrated in Chapter One when the two men discuss the existence of the Canterville ghost. Though Lord Canterville believes in ghosts and Hiram Otis does not, both men are very opinionated and neither one refuses to back down.

Secondly, both Lord Canterville and Hiram Otis are men of honour. When the Canterville ghost gives Virginia the jewels, for instance, Hiram Otis immediately tries to return them to Lord Canterville. This is because Hiram feels that owning such jewels goes against his cultural background, as he explains:

These gems…would be completely out of place among those who have been brought up on the severe, and I believe immortal, principles of Republican simplicity.

Similarly, for Lord Canterville, he feels that accepting the jewels goes against the final wishes of the ghost. Furthermore, it would also contravene the conditions of the sale of the house and, for this reason, he refuses to go back on his word:

Mr Otis, you took the furniture and the ghost at a valuation, and anything that belonged to the ghost passed at once in to your possession.

Read the study guide:
The Canterville Ghost

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