The historical background and its connection to the story

During the nineteenth century the 2 nd Indrustrial Revolition was developed, which produced an accelerated technology out of new products and industries. There was also a technological breakthrough.
This caused a great rivalry between the countries regarding the economy and politics, especially between The United States and England, who were the two world powers at that time.
Oscar Wilde relates this competition and mocks the two countries. He mocks England when the Otis family come home and is not afraid of the ghost, and mocks The United States when Mr. Otis, who has a lot of money, buys the house and he also pretends to buy the ghost.

Popular forms of entretainment varied by social class. Victorian Britain was interested in literature, theaters, the arts, music, drama and opera. 
Another form of entretaiment involved the spectacles where paranormal events such as ghost conjuring and the like were carried out to the delight of crowds and participants.
The belief in manifestation of the spirits of the dead is widespread. Ghosts are generally described as solitary essences which haunt particular locations, objects, or people with which they were associated in life.

The setting of The Canterville Ghost

The Canterville Ghost is set in an England mansion, Canterville Chase, at the end of the XIX century which has all the accoutrements of a haunted house.
The main idea of text tells the story of a ghost that lives to torment the inhabitants of the Canterville Chase.
This story has a fairly realistic setting even though the protagonist is the ghost. Are well established customs of the family and the environment moves into an open mind with a mysterious tone, so this is a fantasy novel of intrigue and dramatic ideas.

The themes in the Canterville Ghost

The Canterville Ghost is a ghost story.
Ghost stories belong to the genre called horror literature, whose purpose is to scare the reader with situations that cause horror or fear. The most common technique is suspense, the slow insinuating of a doubt or of a frightening revelation, which keeps the reader interested.
   This story can be defined an inverted ghost story, because a lot of elements are different from the traditional ones. The main difference is the fact that Mr Otis is not scared by the ghost, while usually people should be. Moreover, the Ghost itself is frightened by the Otis twins.
   There is also comic relief bordering on farce, including buckets of water balanced on half-open doors. But the story has a dark centre. The crime and retribution which led to the haunting is ghastly, and this is really not a comedy at all, but a tale of redemption through the power of love. The innocent girl of the family, appropriately called Virginia, prays for the ghost and endures terrifying if unnamed experiences to release the ghost.
  Also, The Canterville Ghost is both a parody of the traditional ghost story and a satire of the American way of life. Wilde obviously intends to satirize American materialism, but he pokes fun at English traditional culture as well.

American vs. British society: The Canterville Ghost” is a study in contrasts. Wilde takes an American family, places them in a British setting, then, through a series of mishaps, pits one culture against the other. He creates stereotypical characters that represent both England and the United States, and he presents each of these characters as comical figures, satirizing both the unrefined tastes of Americans and the determination of the British to guard their traditions. Sir Simon is not a symbol of England, as perhaps Mrs. Umney is, but rather a paragon of British culture. In this sense, he stands in perfect contrast to the Otises. Sir Simon misunderstands the Otises just as they misunderstand him, and, by pitting them against each other, Wilde clearly wishes to emphasize the culture clash between England and the United States.

The characters in The Canterville Ghost

Main characters: The ghost, Virginia and Mr. Otis.
Secondary characters: Washington, Mrs. Otis, the twins, Duke of Chesire, Lord Canterville and Mrs. Umney.

LORD CANTERVILLE: The owners of canterville chase who sold it to Mr. Otis. He warned about the ghost.
MRS OTIS She looked like an English Lady. She had been a well-known Ney York beauty.   The mother isn't scared of the ghost and even asks him if he wants a remedy for his stomach.
MR OTIS: The father of the Otis family. The American Ambassador. He bought the Canterville Chase. He comes from a modern country where they have everything that money can buy. He is determinated, inflexible, rational, practical and pragmatic, in conclusion a true American 
VIRGINIA:  Was a lovely girl of fifteen with large blue eyes. She was a good sportswoman and loved to ride horses. In respect to her family she is kind and with weling heart. The daughter is the only one in the family who is scared by the ghost. She never speaks except to the ghost, at the end of the story.

THE TWINS: Two happy little boys who laughed and shouted a lot. They liked to play tricks on people and were often punished for them. All  along  the story, they imagine jokes and even dress up as ghosts.
WASHINGTON: Was Mr. Otis son. He was a famous and excellent dancer. He was a very sensible young man.
MRS UMNEY: She was the housekeeper. She was an old woman in a black dress. She believed in the ghost. She was a representative of old British traditions. 
THE GHOST: His name was Sir Simon and died in 1584, his spirit still haunts the Chase. He murdered his wife. He disappeared and his body was never discovered. . His aspect is very terrible: He is an old man, his eyes were as red burning coals, long grey hair fell over his shoulders in matted coils, his garments, which were of antique cut, were soiled and ragged, and from his wrists and ankles hung heavy manacles and rusty gyves.

DUKE OF CHESIRE: He is a handsome young scapegrace desperately in love with the fifteen-year old Virginia Otis. When Virginia vanishes, he insists on being part of the search party. As soon as she reappears, he smothers her with kisses. His devotion is rewarded, and Virginia consents to become the Duchess of Cheshire.

Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde

Born: October 16, 1854
Dublin, Ireland

Died: November 30, 1900

Paris, France

 Outstanding childhood

Oscar Fingall O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was born in Dublin, Ireland, on October 16, 1854. His father, Sir William Wilde, was a well-known surgeon; his mother, Jane Francisca Elgee Wilde, wrote popular poetry and other work under the pseudonym (pen name) Speranza. Because of his mother's literary successes, young Oscar enjoyed a cultured and privileged childhood.

After attending Portora Royal School in Enniskillen, Ireland, Wilde moved on to study the classics at Trinity College, Dublin, from 1871 to 1874. There, he began attracting public attention through the uniqueness of his writing and his lifestyle. Before leaving Trinity College, Wilde was awarded many honors, including the Berkely Gold Medal for Greek.
Begins writing career

At the age of twenty-three Wilde entered Magdalen College, Oxford, England. In 1878 he was awarded the Newdigate Prize for his poem "Ravenna." He attracted a group of followers whose members were purposefully unproductive and artificial. "The first duty in life," Wilde wrote in Phrases and Philosophies for the Use of the Young (1894), "is to be as artificial as possible." After leaving Oxford he expanded his cult (a following). His iconoclasm (attacking of established religious institutions) clashed with the holiness that came with the Victorian era of the late nineteenth century, but this contradiction was one that he aimed for. Another of his aims was the glorification of youth.

Wilde published his well-received Poems in 1881. The next six years were active ones.
He spent an entire year lecturing in the United States and then returned to lecture in England. He applied unsuccessfully for a position as a school inspector. In 1884 he married, and his wife bore him children in 1885 and in 1886. He began to publish extensively in the following year. His writing activity became as intense and as inconsistent as his life had been for the previous six years. From 1887 to 1889 Wilde edited the magazine Woman's World. His first popular success as a fiction writer was The Happy Prince and Other Tales (1888). The House of Pomegranates (1892) was another collection of his fairy tales.

Sexuality of Oscar Wilde
In 1886 Wilde became a practicing homosexual, or one who is sexually attracted to a member of their own sex. He believed that his attacks on the Victorian moral code was the inspiration for his writing. He considered himself a criminal who challenged society by creating scandal. Before his conviction (found guilty) for homosexuality in 1895, the scandal was essentially private. Wilde believed in the criminal mentality. "Lord Arthur Savile's Crime," from Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and Other Stories (1891), treated murder and its successful cover-up comically. The original version of The Picture of Dorian Gray in Lippincott's Magazine emphasized the murder of the painter Basil Hallward by Dorian as the turning point in Dorian's downfall. Wilde stressed that criminal tendency became criminal act.
Dorian Gray was published in book form in 1891. The novel was a celebration of youth. Dorian, in a gesture typical of Wilde, is parentless. He does not age, and he is a criminal. Like all of Wilde's work, the novel was a popular success. His only book of formal criticism, Intentions (1891), restated many of the views that Dorian Gray had emphasized, and it points toward his later plays and stories. Intentions emphasized the importance of criticism in an age that Wilde believed was uncritical. For him, criticism was an independent branch of literature, and its function was important.
His dramas
Wilde married Constance Lloyd, the daughter of a wealthy Dublin barrister, in 1884 and the couple had two sons: Cyril (1885-1915) and Vyvyan (1886-1967).
  Wilde wrote fairy stories for his boys. These were later published as The Happy Prince and Other Tales.

Constance Lloyd

After being married for 11 years, Wilde had left his wife and began having a homosexual affair with Alfred Douglas. In May 1895, Wilde was prosecuted and imprisoned for homosexuality under the terms of the Criminal Law Amendment Act. He served two years in Old Bailey in London.

On March 2, 1895, Wilde initiated a suit for criminal libel (a statement that damages someone's reputation) against the Marquess of Queensberry, who had objected to Wilde's relationship with his son (Lord Alfred Douglas). When his suit failed in April, countercharges followed. After a spectacular court action, Wilde was convicted of homosexual misconduct and sentenced to two years in prison at hard labor.

Prison transformed Wilde's experience as extremely as had his 1886 introduction to homosexuality. In a sense he had prepared himself for prison and its transformation of his art. De Profundis is a moving letter to a friend and apologia (a formal defense) that Wilde wrote in prison; it was first published as a whole in 1905. His theme was that he was not unlike other men and was a scapegoat, or one who bears blame for others. The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898) was written after his release. In this poem a man murdered his mistress and was about to be executed, but Wilde considered him only as criminal as the rest of humanity. He wrote: "For each man kills the thing he loves, / Yet each man does not die."
After Wilde was released from prison he lived in Paris, France. He attempted to write a play in his style before his imprisonment, but this effort failed. He died in Paris on November 30, 1900.