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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Why do the other characters say that Mr. Otis made a big mistake in buying the house in "The Canterville Ghost"?

In "The Canterville Ghost," the other characters tell Mr. Otis that he made a mistake buying the house because the house is haunted.

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The answer to this question can be found in the beginning of the story. Specifically, readers are told about Mr. Otis's supposed mistake in the first sentence of the story. The story makes it clear that "every one" thought that Mr. Otis had done a very "foolish" thing by buying...

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The answer to this question can be found in the beginning of the story. Specifically, readers are told about Mr. Otis's supposed mistake in the first sentence of the story. The story makes it clear that "every one" thought that Mr. Otis had done a very "foolish" thing by buying the Canterville Chase. The only reason provided for his error in judgement was that the house was haunted. The haunting is such a definitive fact that even Lord Canterville himself felt that he absolutely must tell Mr. Otis about the haunting before reaching a final agreement.

Indeed Lord Canterville himself, who was a man of the most punctilious honour, had felt it his duty to mention the fact to Mr. Otis, when they came to discuss terms.

Lord Canterville provides anecdotal evidence of the ghost's existence. He describes a particular haunting involving Dowager Duchess of Bolton, and he also mentions that he and his family have not occupied the house since that particular haunting. The ghost's existence has also been confirmed by Rev. Augustus Dampier.

Mr. Otis isn't scared off at all. He confidently feels that the ghost claims are nothing more than rumors. He states that he comes from a modern country that has everything available, provided a person has the money. Mr. Otis states that if a ghost actually existed, his country would have already had it on display in a public museum or a road show. Mr. Otis will be proven wrong. The ghost does indeed exist, but he and his family make the afterlife absolutely miserable for the ghost.

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