The Canterville Ghost

by

Oscar Wilde

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Canterville Ghost can help.
Lord Canterville was the previous owner of Canterville Chase, prior to its sale to Mr. Otis. He inherited the home from his grandaunt, the Dowager Duchess. Lord Canterville never lived at the estate, both because his servants refused to stay there, and because his wife, Lady Canterville, was unable to sleep there—all owing to Sir Simon’s antics. Lord Canterville pays a great deal of attention to propriety, always ensuring that things are done the proper way. For instance, he’s sure to tell Mr. Otis about Sir Simon’s existence prior to the sale of the estate and is quick to allow Virginia to keep the jewels that Sir Simon presents to her. He also arranges the grand funeral for Sir Simon’s newly discovered body, even though Lord Canterville’s ancestor had been dead for hundreds of years. In this way, Lord Canterville is representative of the aristocracy in general.

Lord Canterville Quotes in The Canterville Ghost

The The Canterville Ghost quotes below are all either spoken by Lord Canterville or refer to Lord Canterville. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The British Aristocracy vs. American Vulgarity Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Branden Books edition of The Canterville Ghost published in 2011.
Chapter 1 Quotes

I have come from a modern country, where we have everything that money can buy […] I reckon that if there were such a thing as a ghost in Europe, we’d have it at home in a very short time in one of our public museums, or on the road as a show.

Related Symbols: Canterville Chase
Page Number: 7-8
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4  Quotes

He had not appeared in this disguise for more than seventy years; in fact, not since he had so frightened pretty Lady Barbara Modish by means of it, that she suddenly broke off her engagement with the present Lord Canterville's grandfather, and ran away to Gretna Green with handsome Jack Castletown,

declaring that nothing in the world would induce her to marry into a family that allowed such a horrible phantom to walk up and down the terrace at twilight. Poor Jack was afterwards shot in a duel by Lord Canterville on Wandsworth Common, and Lady Barbara died of a broken heart at Tunbridge Wells before the year was out. So, in every way, it had been a great success.

Related Symbols: Canterville Chase
Page Number: 30
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

Under these circumstances, Lord Canterville, I feel sure that you will recognize how impossible it would be for me to allow them to remain in the possession of any member of my family; and, indeed, all such vain gauds and toys, however suitable or necessary to the dignity of the British aristocracy, would be completely out of place among those who have been brought up on the severe, and I believe immortal, principles of Republican simplicity.

Related Characters: Mr. Hirsham B. Otis (speaker), Virginia E. Otis, Lord Canterville
Page Number: 59-60
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Canterville Ghost LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Canterville Ghost PDF

Lord Canterville Character Timeline in The Canterville Ghost

The timeline below shows where the character Lord Canterville appears in The Canterville Ghost. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
The British Aristocracy vs. American Vulgarity Theme Icon
Appearance, Reality, and Sincerity Theme Icon
Mr. Hirsham B. Otis, an American minister, has just purchased the estate Canterville Chase from Lord Canterville . Canterville Chase, Lord Canterville explains, has been the home of the Canterville family for... (full context)
The British Aristocracy vs. American Vulgarity Theme Icon
Commercialism and Politics Theme Icon
Mr. Otis laughs at Lord Canterville ’s belief in haunting, saying that the Otis family comes from America, a modern country... (full context)
Chapter 2 
The British Aristocracy vs. American Vulgarity Theme Icon
Commercialism and Politics Theme Icon
Appearance, Reality, and Sincerity Theme Icon
...morning, as well. Mr. Otis begins to wonder if he was too quick to dismiss Lord Canterville ’s warnings about a ghost. Mrs. Otis ponders joining a spiritualist society and Washington writes... (full context)
Chapter 3
The British Aristocracy vs. American Vulgarity Theme Icon
Commercialism and Politics Theme Icon
...Otis—he remembers that this has worked well for him in the past against the current Lord Canterville ’s uncle. However, as Mr. Otis and the twins are quickly approaching, Sir Simon instead... (full context)
Chapter 4 
The British Aristocracy vs. American Vulgarity Theme Icon
Appearance, Reality, and Sincerity Theme Icon
...Otis is so sure that Sir Simon is gone, he writes a triumphant letter to Lord Canterville about Sir Simon’s departure. (full context)
Chapter 7
Mercy and Empathy Theme Icon
Appearance, Reality, and Sincerity Theme Icon
Since Sir Simon’s physical body has at last been discovered, Lord Canterville arranges a grand funeral for Sir Simon, which is attended by the Otis family and... (full context)