A Christmas Carol Questions and Answers
by Charles Dickens

A Christmas Carol book cover
Start Your Free Trial

What do each of the three spirits in A Christmas Carol represent?

Expert Answers info

David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2017

write11,171 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

The Ghost of Christmas Past represents what Scrooge used to be. Back in the day, Scrooge was a cheerful soul who used to enjoy the festive season. He was the life and soul of the party, dancing and singing and thoroughly enjoying himself at Mr. Fezziwig's annual staff get-togethers. But eventually, Scrooge became obsessed with making money, and the iron entered his soul. Ever since then, he's hated Christmas with a passion.

And what Scrooge now is—a mean old skinflint who everyone hates—is represented by the Ghost of Christmas Present. He gives old Ebenezer an uncomfortable insight into what people really think about him and what they say about him behind his back. He also shows Scrooge how other people—normal people, that is—celebrate and enjoy the holiday season. Most importantly of all, the Ghost reveals to Scrooge the horrific consequences of his serial stinginess in the form of two half-starved waifs—allegorical figures representing Ignorance and Want.

Finally, the Ghost...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 846 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

litteacher8 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2008

write15,968 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial


msmoore | Student

The ghost of Christmas past represents memory.  By taking Scrooge through the different stages in his life, the ghost of Christmas past is showing Scrooge that he was once able to love and that he once cared about others.  But as he ages, Scrooge is shown how much less compassion he has for people, as well how much more greedy he becomes due to his lust for money.

The ghost of Christmas yet to come represents death.  It is Scrooge's fear of death that finally seals his fate and makes him change his ways.  More literally, the ghost of Christmas yet to come represents the difference between heaven and hell, showing Scrooge how awful his life will be if he continues living the way he is, compared to how his life used to be when he had more compassion for the human spirit.