What is the personality of each ghost in A Christmas Carol?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Each ghost has a different purpose, and a different personality.  Marley, the first ghost, used to be Scrooge’s business partner.  They know each other well, and are somewhat friends.  Marley cares about Scrooge, but he is also frustrated because Marley is reformed and Scrooge has not changed his ways.  Marley takes the time to arrange a unique opportunity for Scrooge to review his life and see the path that he is on, in hopes of Scrooge’s reclamation.  Marley looks decayed, and his jaw even falls open.  He carries heavy chains, and he is morose from the knowledge that he did not help others while he was alive, and there is nothing he can do about it now.  He wants desperately to help those in need, and he cannot.  The only way he can help them is to help Scrooge change his ways.

The first of the Christmas ghosts is the Ghost of Christmas Past.  He looks like a man and woman, young and old.  He also glows, in contrast to Marley’s grimness.  He wears white, symbolizing the innocence of the past.  The Ghost of Christmas Past is at times stern and at times sympathetic to Scrooge.  He asks Scrooge questions, and responds graciously to Scrooge’s bitter remarks.  He watches Scrooge closely, and prods him along to the realization that the events of his past have shaped him.  There is a sadness about this Ghost, representing the fact that we cannot change the past.  Scrooge acknowledges this in frustration when he puts out the light.

The Ghost of Christmas Present is jolly and huge.  He wears a warm robe but has a bare chest.  He also has a crown of thorns and a scabbard with an empty sword.  This outfit represents the possibility of the present.  The present is happening now, and can be anything.  This ghost is both jolly and harsh at intervals.  He also ages slowly as they go through the present.  The Ghost of Christmas present is generous, and caring for the poor is one of his main priorities.  He is often severe with Scrooge, pushing him much more than the Ghost of Christmas Past did.  More than anything he wants Scrooge to open his eyes and look at the world around him.  He wants Scrooge to realize that you don’t need money to be happy, and that there are people suffering everywhere that need help.  By showing Scrooge the Cratchits, this ghost puts a face on the poor.  The Cratchits remind Scrooge of the family he never had.

The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is dark and mysterious.  He is faceless and never talks.  He represents the unknown, and the fear inherent in it.  Although he never talks, Scrooge is terrified of him.  Scrooge also reluctantly accepts that he needs to pay attention, and he is beginning to be redeemed.  Before Scrooge can be redeemed he needs to face the consequences of his actions.  Scrooge refuses to accept his death at first, and when he sees the different reactions he asks for some emotion related to a death.  The Ghost shows him the family that is happy because they owed Scrooge money, and the Cratchits who are saddened by the death of Tiny Tim.


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