Historical Context in The Canterville Ghost
“The Canterville Ghost” is set in the English countryside in the late 19th-century. Sir Simon the ghost is a relic of the 16th century when he died and references cultural and historical facts from this time period. The ghost is single-mindedly dedicated to perfecting the ‘art’ of being a ghost. Wilde suggests that there is no other reason for this dedication, other than the ghost’s desire to become a master of his craft. This approach to art and aesthetics mirrors the ‘art for art’s sake’ philosophy of Decadence, a movement of which Wilde was an avid participant.