How does the character of Scrooge change throughout the story?

The character of Scrooge changes from a misanthropic miser with no apparent empathy into someone kindhearted and generous in his treatment of others.

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Scrooge is a rare example of a character who can be considered flat yet dynamic. He undergoes a complete transformation, finally becoming the exact opposite of who he was at the beginning of the story, yet he remains something of a caricature. Here he is at the beginning of A...

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Scrooge is a rare example of a character who can be considered flat yet dynamic. He undergoes a complete transformation, finally becoming the exact opposite of who he was at the beginning of the story, yet he remains something of a caricature. Here he is at the beginning of A Christmas Carol:

Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice.

Even at this point in the story, Dickens makes a point of saying that Scrooge's coldness does not thaw even at Christmas. After it has been gradually thawed during the night by the three ghosts and the visions they show him, Scrooge wakes to find himself a changed man, benevolent and happy. As he himself puts it:

I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a schoolboy. I am as giddy as a drunken man. A merry Christmas to everybody! A happy New Year to all the world.

Scrooge changes from a miserable, selfish, hard-hearted skinflint to a kindly, generous old gentleman. This general change is paralleled with a more specific one, which is in line with the theme and title of the story. He begins as a man who particularly dislikes Christmas, which he regards as an excuse for idleness and gluttony. This hatred of festivity has a strong element of Puritanism in it; it is ideological as well as opportunistic. At the end of the book, however, Scrooge is completely converted to the joy of Christmas, as he regards the festive season as the source of his salvation.

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Scrooge undergoes a complete change over the course of A Christmas Carol. When we first meet him, he's a thoroughly nasty piece of work, a heartless miser who hates Christmas and spreads misery and gloom wherever he goes.

Yet by the end of the story, after being visited by a succession of ghosts, he changes his ways and becomes a genuinely kind, lovable man devoted to the spirit of Christmas and all that it entails.

To some extent, Scrooge is returning to what he used to be before naked greed entered into his soul and turned him into a mean old skinflint. Once upon a time, he used to love Christmas and would happily enter into the spirit of things at the legendary parties thrown by his former employer, Mr. Fezziwig. But his attitude to Christmas, and to other people, took a turn for the worse when he became obsessed with making money.

Thanks to the spirits who visit him on Christmas Eve, however, Scrooge has finally seen the error of his ways. He now realizes, at long last, that money really isn't everything and that goodwill to all, the most important message of the Christmas season, is the overriding value by which he will live the rest of his life.

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As A Christmas Carol begins, Scrooge is characterized as a greedy, coldhearted miser with no apparent empathy or sympathy for others. Having come to value the acquisition of wealth over all human connections, he lives a lonely life, and yet he is so trapped in his materialist values that he does not recognize how impoverished his life truly is.

The story of A Christmas Carol follows Scrooge's dramatic change in character as a result of his encounters with various spirits: first, there is Marley, his former business partner who now serves as a terrifying warning of the afterlife awaiting Scrooge himself, and then there are the three Christmas ghosts, representing past, present, and future.

It is notable that his character development is shaped through these supernatural encounters. In his time with the Ghost of Christmas Past, Scrooge revisits various moments from his own history (delving backward all the way into his childhood), and through these memories, he comes face to face with the human connections that once featured in his life, which he has since spurned in his pursuit of wealth. Meanwhile, the Ghost of Christmas Present shows Scrooge just how empty and lonely his own life has become. Notably, by this point, you can also see Scrooge's growing empathy, as he voices sorrow at the thought of Tiny Tim's death. Finally, the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come shows Scrooge a frightening vision regarding his future and how Scrooge currently stands to be remembered after his death.

These encounters amount to a life-changing experience for Scrooge, who turns away from his miserly, misanthropic ways to embrace those qualities of kindness, generosity, and empathy he had previously spurned.

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From the very first visit by Jacob Marley, Scrooge, in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, is beginning to change. With each of the ghosts, he becomes more and more afraid of what lies before him in the afterlife and more determined to change. When Jacob Marley visits, Scrooge has a lot of questions for him. Scrooge is surprised when Marley tells him he (Marley) regrets the things he did in life, and Scrooge says,

"But you were always a good man of business, Jacob" (Dickens 23),

as though that was what counted in life, but Marley counters with, "Business! Mankind was my business" (Dickens 23).

At the end of Stave I, when Marley tells Scrooge he will be haunted by three ghosts, Scrooge says he would rather not, but Marley makes him understand that through these visits, Scrooge has a chance of avoiding Marley's fate. Scrooge is tempted to use his usual rejoinder, "Humbug," but stops himself, which, in itself, shows progress already.

The Ghost of Christmas Past in the second stave reminds Scrooge of his younger life--of the joys and sorrows, of the love he once felt for others, and by the end of this stave, he is exhausted and saddened, and he realizes he put material wealth over once important relationships.

The Ghost of Christmas Present shows him Bob Cratchit's family and how, even though Scrooge pays his worker, Bob, so little, the family is happy and loving. Bob even toasts Scrooge in spite of his selfishness and greed. This stave finds Scrooge very humbled and on the verge of change.

Finally, the last spirit--the Ghost of Christmas Future--seals the deal by showing Scrooge his own end--his death all alone with nobody to mourn him. By the time this ghost is gone, Scrooge is a completely changed man. He wakes up to Christmas and realizes that he has been given a second chance. He is not about to blow this chance.

"'I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future!' Scrooge repeated, as he scrambled out of bed. 'The spirits of all three shall strive within me. O Jacob Marley! Heaven and the Christmastime be praised for this! I say it on my knees, old Jacob, on my knees!' He was so fluttered and so glowing with his good intentions that his broken voice would scarcely answer to his call. He had been sobbing violently in his conflict with the Spirit, and his face was wet with tears" (Dickens 113).

Scrooge spends the rest of his days making up for his past, becoming a generous boss and man, becoming like an uncle to Bob Cratchit's children. His metamorphosis is complete.

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A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is a novella or short novel. Although A Christmas Carol is divided into five Staves that might be confused with a five-act play at first glance, Dickens’s story is written in prose.

With that out of the way, let’s focus on Ebenezer Scrooge. It is no exaggeration to claim that Scrooge is one of the most iconic and dynamic figures in all English literature. A major part of the character's popularity is his overnight transformation from crotchety miser to full-hearted philanthropist.

In the opening scenes of the play, Scrooge is comically grouchy and cold-hearted. He refuses to allow his employee, Bob Cratchit, to add coal to the fire to warm his office. He dismisses his nephew with the famous retort, “Bah, humbug!” when invited to participate in family Christmas celebrations. Scrooge also rebuffs a pair of gentlemen seeking charitable donations for the poor; he declares, “I wish to be left alone,” and says of the poor, “If they would rather die . . . they had better do it and decrease the surplus population.” The Scrooge of the opening pages of Dickens’s novel is a bitter man who cares only for his wealth and revels in social isolation.

Over the night of Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by three ghosts in rapid succession. With the Ghost of Christmas Past, Scrooge is reminded of happier days when he had lived and loved life to the fullest. Scrooge’s heart is softened by reliving scenes from his childhood and youth. The Ghost of Christmas Present shows Scrooge the lives of his nephew and employee and reveals two horrors: Ignorance and Want. These serve as a warning to Scrooge to change his ways. The third and final phantom, the Ghost of Christmas Future, shows the miserly accountant his unvisited grave, which finally breaks Scrooge. Desperate for redemption, he pleads with the silent figure for a second chance.

When Scrooge awakes on Christmas morning, he rises from bed a changed man. Look at how he acts when he realizes he still has time to change his future:

“I don’t know what to do!” cried Scrooge, laughing and crying in the same breath, and making a perfect Laocoön of himself with his stockings. “I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a schoolboy. I am as giddy as a drunken man. A merry Christmas to everybody! A happy New Year to all the world. Hallo here! Whoop! Hallo!”

Scrooge sends a massive turkey to Bob Cratchit, surprises his nephew at the family Christmas dinner, and dedicates his life to helping the poor and bringing joy to the lives of those around him. This is quite a dramatic change from the cranky penny-pincher Scrooge had been in the first pages of the novel!

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Scrooge changes from a miserly and unhappy person who only cares about money (in the beginning of the novel) to a generous and happy person who cares most about other people (by the end of the novel). Early on, the narrator describes Scrooge as

a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features . . . He carried his own low temperature always about with him.

In other words, Scrooge is callous and unfeeling, completely lacking in generosity or even goodwill toward his fellows. He's as hard as a rock, a simile Dickens uses to describe his lack of feeling. He keeps himself to himself and does not engage with other people if he can help it. He is so "cold"—another way to express his indifference to humanity—that it seems to freeze his very features, and he even seems to make the room grow colder when he enters it. Scrooge is rude to his nephew, mean to his clerk, and cruel to a caroler who comes singing for his supper.

In the end, after the ghosts have visited him,

He dressed himself "all in his best," and at last got out into the streets. The people were by this time pouring forth, as he had seen them with the Ghost of Christmas Present; and walking with his hands behind him, Scrooge regarded every one with a delighted smile. He looked so irresistibly pleasant, in a word, that three or four good-humoured fellows said, "Good morning, sir! A merry Christmas to you!" And Scrooge said often afterwards, that of all the blithe sounds he had ever heard, those were the blithest in his ears.

Scrooge loves Christmas now, but, more importantly, he loves other people and not just money. He makes a generous donation to the men who came to collect for the poor just the day before. He goes to Christmas dinner at his nephew's house. He sends a huge turkey to his clerk. And, on the next day, when Bob Cratchit comes to work, Scrooge offers him and his family whatever help money can provide.

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In the beginning of the novel, Scrooge lives by himself, cuts himself off from other people, rebuffs overtures from his nephew to visit for Christmas, and cares only about money. He is hardhearted and resents being asked to help the poor. He even resents giving his clerk a half day off for Christmas. After the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future show him glimpses of his forgotten past happinesses, the current state of the people around him, and his own future, in which no one mourns his death, Scrooge's heart melts and his emotions reawaken. When the night ends and he realizes he is still alive and can make amends to the world, Scrooge is overjoyed and transforms into a giving, loving person. 

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At the beginning of the play, Ebenezer Scrooge is presented as a selfish, uncaring, greedy, and caustic old man.

“…he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! A squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire, secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster" (Dickens).

He has no friends and the family he does have, he does not spend time with. He does not appear to value anyone or anything, other than money.

Throughout the play, he begins to see himself with more clarity and his perception of the world begins to change. He sees the very negative affect he has on others, like the Cratchits, and he also sees how little he will be missed when he dies.

At the end of the play, he has changed completely. He is kind, generous, involved in his family, happy, and caring. He seems to have genuinely learned from the journey that the spirits have taken him on.

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach" (Dickens)!

He does not want to end up dead and forgotten, leaving nothing behind except ill memories and even pain (if he could have helped prevent Tiny Tim's death, that certainly would have avoided much pain for the Cratchit family). He starts anew on Christmas morning and embraces life.

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The change in Scrooge's character is the whole point of this short story.  If he did not change, there would be no story.

At the beginning of the story, Scrooge is a miserly man who seems to hate people.  He won't let his clerk have a warm fire and he won't participate in any sort of holiday festivities.

But then Scrooge is shown visions by the three spirits.  After that, he changes his character completely.  He realizes that he has not been behaving well and he mends his ways.  For example, he buys the biggest goose for the Cratchit family where once he would not have wanted Cratchit to even have a fire to keep himself warm at work.

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In the novel A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, the character called Scrooge goes through a catharsis - he manages,just in time as far as his age is concerned, to reinvent himself. He goes through an 'enlightenment' when the ghost of his old business partner comes back from the dead momentarily to tell him about the shackles of sin (greed, selfishness, uncharitable behavior, avarice and general penny-pinching meanness) and where it has led him in the afterlife. It has brought him nothing but misery - but Scrooge can avoid it if he manages to mend his ways before his own death. This requires remorse, sorrow and genuine shame on Scrooge's part. At first he doesn't seem to be learning any lessons - then there is an illumination (he asks what will become of Tiny Tim and now seems to genuinely care.) The change in Scrooge is a change of heart.

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