The Canterville Ghost Chapter 5 Summary and Questions/Answers

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In this post, you will get a short summary of The Canterville Ghost Chapter 5 “The Prophecy on the Library Window” as well as questions and their answers related to Chapter 4. The Canterville Ghost is a novel written by Oscar Wilde, who is famous for his witty and humorous tone in his writings as well as surprise endings.

The Canterville Ghost
Photo by Cederic Vandenberghe on Unsplash

The Canterville Ghost Chapter 5 “The Prophecy on the Library Window” summary: Virginia tears her riding costume while passing through a hedge while out on her horse one day. She chooses the back staircase to her room because she doesn’t want to be seen. On the way, she thinks she sees her Mother’s maid in the Tapestry Chamber and goes in to make a request, only to be confronted by the ghost.

Virginia is initially terrified, but as she observes the ghost’s melancholy and hopeless demeanour, she feels pity for him. She tries to console him by telling him that the twins will be off to school the next day and that if he behaves, the ghost will have no one to bother him after that. Virginia reprimands the ghost for his ancient deed of murder as the ghost tries to justify his actions. The ghost then tells Virginia how he was starved to death, and Virginia feels terrible for him.

There is a brief moment of discord when the ghost clumsily compliments Virginia while simultaneously criticising the rest of her family. She chastises him for stealing her paints in order to renew the bloodstain, and the ghost makes a feeble defence. Virginia suggests that the ghost immigrates to the United States, but her suggestion is rejected. Virginia also threatens to extend the twins’ vacation when the ghost insults the American navy and American manners.

The ghost, on the other hand, has no stomach left to fight any longer, and when Virginia threatens him, he breaks down and tells her how lonely and tired he is, and how he longs to sleep after a three-hundred-year vigil. Virginia is moved to tears as the ghost describes the Garden of Death with wistful longing and yearns for the peace of eternal sleep.

The ghost begs Virginia to assist him in crossing over to the other side, claiming that she possesses the power of love and that love is death. He reminds her of the verse on the library window and explains what it means, saying that he can only find eternal rest if she prays and weeps for him. Virginia can never be harmed as a pure child, according to the ghost, and she can successfully persuade the Angel of Death to have mercy on him.

Though her spirit trembles at what the ghost asks of her, Virginia agrees because she wants to help the poor ghost. He bows gallantly and kisses her hand, and she observes that his fingers are as cold as ice, despite his lips being as hot as fire. The tapestry with its embroidered huntsmen seems to come alive as he leads Virginia forward, and the little huntsmen warn her not to go any further, but she ignores them and continues on. The carved animals depicted on the chimneypiece also seem to come alive, warning Virginia that she may never be seen again; however, she ignores their warnings.

The ghost mutters some unintelligible words as they near the end of the chamber, and the wall fades away. Virginia now sees a dark cave in front of her and is surrounded by a bitter wind. Something tugs at her skirt, and the ghost pleads with her to hurry before it’s too late. The wall panel closes behind them in an instant, and the Tapestry Chamber is now empty.

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Canterville Ghost Chapter 5 questions and answers


1. What circumstances bring Virginia and the ghost face to face?

Answer: When Virginia took the back staircase, she came face to face with the ghost. She thought she saw someone in the Tapestry Chamber and went inside, believing it was her mother’s maid. She was astounded to see the Canterville Ghost there.

2. ”No, thank you, I never eat anything now; but it is very kind of you, all the same, and you are much nicer than the rest of your horrid, rude, vulgar, dishonest family.”

a. Who speaks these lines? Who is referred to as horrid and rude?
b. Who responds to these lines and what is the response?
c. Describe how Virginia was just and compassionate in her responses throughout the exchange,

Answer: a. These were the words spoken by the ghost. Mr and Mrs Otis, as well as their sons, are described as obnoxious and rude.

b. These lines drew a response from Virginia. She replied that it was the ghost, not her family, who was rude, horrid, dishonest, and vulgar.

c. Throughout the conversation with the ghost, Virginia was fair and compassionate in her responses. Virginia chastised the ghost for telling his wife he was justifying his wicked actions, but she was sympathetic when he told her about his wife’s brothers starving him to death and offered him her sandwich.

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5. What happens when Virginia agrees to help the ghost? Do you think she is taking a terrible risk?

Answer: When Virginia agreed to assist the ghost, he rose from his seat and kissed her hand with a faint joyous cry. After that, he walks her across the dusty room.

Virginia took a huge risk by assisting the ghost because she didn’t know if she’d be able to return.


1. The meeting between Virginia and the ghost marks a turning point in the story. Justify the statement.

Answer: Virginia’s encounter with the ghost marked a turning point in the story. For three hundred years, the ghost did not sleep. He only desired death and eternal sleep, but he was denied it. Virginia was to weep for his sins and make a plea for him in the Garden of Death. Virginia was the only person who could lead the ghost to the Garden of Death because she was full of love, and love is the only thing that can defeat death. It was an enriching experience for Virginia as well as a redemptive experience for Simon. The meeting proves to be a turning point in the story because the ghost finally finds eternal rest after this encounter.

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3. Virginia made no answer, and the ghost wrung his hands in wild despair as he looked down at her bowed golden head. Suddenly she stood up, very pale, and with a strange light in her eyes. ‘I am not afraid,” she said firmly, ”and I will ask the angel to have mercy on you. “

a. Why did the ghost despair?
b. What gave Virginia the courage to agree to help the ghost?

Answer: a. Only Virginia could lead him to the Garden of Death, so the ghost was in despair.

b. Virginia was an emphatic and fearless young lady. She did what she knew was the only thing she could do when she realised she was the only one who could help the ghost. She bravely stood up and declared that she was not afraid and that she would beg the angel of death to spare the Canterville Ghost’s life.

4. Show how the writer lends humour to the conversation where Virginia speaks of her paints and the ghost shares views and tries to defend his actions.

Answer: Throughout the novel, the author employs a sense of humour. The fact that the ghost stole Virginia’s paint to cover the bloodstain in the library is both amusing and unexpected. The readers are not expecting a supernatural being to create blood with paint. The ghost then tries to justify his actions by claiming that real blood is difficult to come by. He also defends his actions by claiming that if Washington had not diligently removed the bloodstain daily, he would not have stolen Virginia’s paints.

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