The Canterville Ghost Chapter 3 Summary and Questions/Answers

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In this post, you will get a short summary of The Canterville Ghost Chapter 3 Ghostly Strategies as well as questions and their answers related to Chapter 3. 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 3 Ghostly Strategies summary: Mr Otis is a fair man who does not support the twins’ decision to throw a pillow at the ghost. He is irritated, however, that his gift of lubricating oil was turned down. He expresses the opinion that if the ghost continues to make a racket with his chains, they must be taken away from him in order for everyone to have a restful night’s sleep.

That week, the ghost is nowhere to be found. The bloodstain, on the other hand, is renewed and begins to change colour. Everyone is amused by this, except Virginia, who is irritated when the bloodstain turns a bright emerald green one morning.

On Sunday night, the ghost makes his second appearance, making a terrifying amount of noise while attempting to put on a suit of armour that is now too heavy for him to bear. While the twins shoot him with their pea-shooter, Mr Otis threatens him with a revolver, the Otis family finds him sitting in the hall, rubbing his knees in agony. The ghost, enraged, blows out Washington’s candle and rushes up the stairs. He unleashes his dreadful demonic laughter in the hopes of frightening everyone.

Unlike previous occasions when his terrified laughter turned Lord Raker’s wig grey and scared away three French governesses, he is only given a bottle of digestive tonic by Mrs Otis, who believes he is ill. The ghost is even more enraged, and he intends to transform into a large black dog. He’d used his canine form to drive Lord Canterville’s uncle, Hon Thomas Horton, insane. Even as he mulls this over, he hears footsteps approaching and vanishes with a dramatic groan just as the twins arrive.

When he gets to his room, his feelings of frustration have taken over. The twins’ and Mrs Canterville’s treatment of him is extremely irritating. What irritates him the most is that he can no longer wear his own armour, which had earned him praise from none other than the Virgin Queen herself during the tournament at Kenilworth.

After this incident, the ghost becomes ill for several days and only keeps the bloodstain in the library. He recovers and plans to attempt a third time on August 17th. The weather is stormy and windy, so the ghost opts for a large slouched hat with a red feather, a winding-sheet frilled at the wrists and neck, and a rusty dagger after much deliberation. He intends to start by frightening Washington by appearing at the foot of the young man’s bed and stabbing himself in the throat three times.

He then intends to terrify Mrs Otis by placing a cold, wet hand on her forehead and whispering terrifying stories into Mr Otis’ ear. Virginia is only slightly frightened by a few groans from the cupboard or a few tugs at her bed cover due to her kind nature. His final plan is to terrify the twins by sitting on their chests, then disguising himself as a corpse and crawling around the room as “Dumb Daniel, or the Suicide’s Skeleton.”

At a quarter after midnight, the ghost sets out on his mission and approaches Washington’s room. However, seeing a ghost there terrifies him, and he rushes back to his room. He realises he has been duped by a figure of fun created by Washington and the twins when he summons enough courage at dawn to return and join forces with the other ghost. He swears a terrible oath that when the rooster crows twice, he will carry out murderous deeds. A rooster crows as if on cue after he says this oath. However, he continues to wait in vain for the rooster to crow a second time, and when the housemaids arrive at half-past seven, he gives up his vigil.

All of the ghost’s plans have been left undone when he returns to his room. He’s baffled and frustrated because he can’t figure out why the rooster didn’t crow twice. To rest, he retires to a coffin.

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Canterville Ghost Chapter 3 questions and answers


1. Describe the second encounter that the Otis family has with the ghost.

Answer: The Otis family had rushed downstairs after hearing a terrifying crash in the hall on a Sunday night. They noticed the Canterville Ghost seated in a high-backed chair, his face etched with agony. The Twins had brought their pea shooters with them and fired two pellets at the ghost right away. Mr Otis arrived with his revolver and instructed the ghost to raise his hands. This enraged the ghost, who swept through them like a mist, extinguishing Washington’s candle and leaving them completely in the dark. When he reached the top of the stairs, he regained his composure and resolved to deliver his famous peal of demonic laughter. As a result, he laughed his most horrifying laugh. Mrs Otis appeared and handed him a bottle of Doctor Dobell’s tincture, believing he was suffering from indigestion. The ghost glared angrily at her and was about to transform into a large black dog when he heard approaching footsteps, causing him to pause and vanish with a deep churchyard groan.

2. How are Mr and Mrs Otis similar in their reactions to the ghost?

Answer: Mr Otis offered the ghost a bottle of lubricator when he heard the clank of metal and the heavy chains on the ghost’s wrists and ankles. Similarly, when Mrs Otis heard the ghost’s laughter, she assumed he was sick and offered him a bottle of medicine. Their reactions to the ghost were similar in that they were not scared by it but instead acted rationally.

3. How does the ghost recall his demoniac laughter being received in the past? What had been the reaction to his manifestation as a big black dog?

Answer: Lord Raker’s wig had gone grey in a single night in the past, and three of Lady Canterville’s French governesses had given warnings before their month was up because of the demonic laughter.

When the ghost manifested as a large black dog in the past, Lord Canterville’s uncle, the Honourable Thoman Horton, went insane.

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6. Why is the phrase gross materialism used to describe the ghost’s view of the Otis family? Does it indicate a bias towards the ghostly form of existence?

Answer: Because they were a modern American family, the ghost despised the Otis family. Mrs Otis’ ostentatious materialism irritated him. He was enraged by the Otis family’s lack of faith in the supernatural.

Yes, because materialism is a school of thought that only believes in the existence of matter, it indicates a bias towards the ghostly form of existence.


1. On reaching his room, he entirely broke down, and became prey to the most violent agitation.

a. Would you see these reactions as indicating that the ghost, from feeling rage, disappointment and revenge, is now entering a mood of defeat, dejection and submission?

b. Can you point out at least three other phrases/sentences that indicate this transformation in his mood?

Answer: Yes, the ghost that was once filled with rage, disappointment, and vengeance is now filled with defeat, dejection, and submission.

“What really distressed him was that he had been unable to wear the suit,” “the sound of footsteps, however, made him feel hesitant,” and “he was extremely ill, and hardly stirred out of his house” are three other phrases that reflect this mood.

2. Perdition seized the naughty fowl, the ghost muttered. Why?

Answer: This line was muttered by the ghost in rage as the Chanticleer had only crowded once. When the cock would crow twice, he swears he’d murder someone. Previously, whenever the ghost took the oath, the cock would croon twice. The cock only crowed once on this particular day. As a result, the ghost cursed the cock, wishing it was in hell.

5. Do the strategies and encounters of the ghost strike you as funny or frightening or an odd mixture of both gore and humour? How does Wilde bring this out? Can you cite some specific sentences/phrases/ titles that make you feel this way?

Answer: The ghost’s strategies and encounters are a mixture of gore and humour. Because it has emotions and feelings, the Canterville Ghost is unlike any other ghost. The ghost in this story is not the typical ghost we read about in ghost stories, which adds to the novel’s humour. The Canterville Ghost is depressed and disappointed and eventually gives in to the Otis family. Because of the graphic violence visually depicted, it’s also a gory mix. 

“Grapple at the counterpane with palsy fingers” is a line that depicts humour and gore.

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