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A Christmas Carol has been called a morality tale. What are the lessons it teaches?

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amir-nit | Salutatorian

Posted September 28, 2013 at 12:55 PM via web

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A Christmas Carol has been called a morality tale. What are the lessons it teaches?

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akannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 28, 2013 at 1:14 PM (Answer #1)

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The notion of a morality play as one in which specific virtues and praised and exact vices are criticized can be evident in Dickens' A Christmas Carol.  One of the vices that is specifically repudiated is greed.  When Thomas Aquinas writes that "Greed is a sin against God, just as all mortal sins, in as much as man condemns things eternal for the sake of temporal things," it is a perfect description of Scrooge before the ghosts' visit.  

Scrooge is one who embraces the "temporal things" such as money more than the transcendent notion of the good.  For Scrooge, this vice is punished when Scrooge sees the results of his actions through the visions that the ghosts offer.  In Scrooge's transformation, he rejects the "sake of temporal things" and embraces "things eternal."  When Scrooge embraces "darkness," it is as much physical as it is emotional and moral.  Through his transformation, Scrooge embraces the transcendent and "eternal" light in which individuals see past the contingent and recognize their own belonging to something larger.  This is the morality play that is demonstrated throughout A Christmas Carol, one that affirms the transcendent "eternal" and negates the "temporal."

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