The Ghost Behaves like A Human in The Canterville Ghost

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“The Ghost acts and behaves just like a human being of flesh and blood.” — Do you agree? Why/Why not?


      It is indeed true that the Ghost reacts, thinks, feels and suffers as if he is a living human being in The Canterville Ghost. When Mr. Otis offers him a Lubricator for oiling his rusty chains, the Ghost is stunned. He cannot imagine that a mere human can be so unafraid of his fearful presence. It is an insult to his prowess as a terrible phantom. He angrily smashes the bottle and goes away fast, but then the twins appear and throw a pillow at him. The Ghost now admits defeat and vanishes through the wainscoting. Now, this last act means he does not have a solid body at all - just like a true ghost. But later, he falls down under the weight of his heavy old armor, badly grazes his knees and injures his right hand! He falls so ill that for several nights he cannot move. After this he gets a terrible fright by looking at the false ghost made up by the twins, falls down the stairs by slipping on a butter-slide and finally gets soaked to the skin as a jug of water is upset over him. He suffers from a heavy cold and lies in bed for several days!

      Can all these things happen to a ghost? Therein lies the humour, because the improbable and the unexpected are happening. Laughter is basically generated by reversing usual situations into improbable ones, by injecting the element of startled surprise through totally unexpected behavior and unanticipated turn of events. Later, the Ghost’s suffering and wretchedness, as confessed to Virginia, are so very humanistic that we are moved to pity for him. There is no denying that the Canterville Ghost is more human than ghostly, both on the physical and the mental planes!

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