Representation of Ghosts in Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

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Dickens presents all four ghosts in a different manner within the novel, we gain information about the ghosts through the physical description and opinions provided by Ebenezer Scrooge and his reactions to in certain situations.

The first ghost we see is the ghost of Jacob Marley – Scrooge’s previous business partner. “In life I was your partner, Jacob Marley.”, however later know that Marley’s ghost is shown with a long chain draped around his person including “cash-boxes, keys, padlocks, ledgers, deeds and heavy purses”. Dickens refers to “keys” and “padlocks” on the chain around Marley, suggesting that he keeps everything inaccessible to others – especially feelings and their money this is clearly backed by this quote from the extract “The truth is, that he tried to be smart, as a means of distracting his own attention, and keeping down his terror;”. However, the weight of the other items listed on the chain, gives the impression that the ghost is imprisoned by his own regrets one of them is shown by the cash boxes representing his money-centred personality much like Scrooge at this point in the novella. It may be that Dickens is trying to represent those who are in the same business as Scrooge as egotistical or perhaps even cruel and ignorant. This is due to the rich who generally turn a blind eye towards those of a lower class or those who are destitute in the Victorian era.

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The second ghost, ghost of Christmas present, is presented as a cheerful, kind-hearted spirit which is the polar opposite of Scrooge. He is clearly a wretched and a greedy man. His choice of attire includes a “a green robe” symbolising Christmas, it is generally associated with Christmas festivities. Scrooge also then realises that his room had “surprising transformation,” with holly, mistletoe and ivy scattered around, “poultry, brawn, great joints of meat,” and “bright gleaming berries.” These are all very normal, basic things to convey the Christmas spirit across. The description provided by Dickens is almost the opposite to the extract of the first ghostly encounter, he describes the stomach disorder with “an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato.” May suggest that as he moved on through, we find that his views are slowly changing.

The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come has “silently approached” Scrooge whilst “draped and hooded,” this imagery is clearly focused on the idea of death. The ghost does not talk, he is ominous and leads him to where Scrooge truly sees people’s opinions on him even if they are from those who are ragged. It is very possible that Scrooge is reminded of Marley’s fate and could be what will happen to him. In this part he really thinks about his actions and the consequences they might have on his reputation within his community, unless he changes his ways. The spirit might’ve been showing Scrooge his wrongful ways and the difference between heaven and hell. At Tiny Tim’s funeral, we could assume that he would go to heaven as he is a generous boy unlike Scrooge who would go to hell for being cold-hearted. This ghost scared him the most due to his lack of speech to Scrooge, but personally, I believe it made all the difference to Scrooge as a person. Here he really saw his flaws and where he went wrong, what effects his actions have on the rest of the people around him.


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