What are some character traits for all three spirits in "A Christmas Carol"?

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estoverl eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come (future) play a major role in the story "A Christmas Carol." All three spirits visit Scrooge in his sleep with the apparent motive of making sure that Scrooge realizes the need to change his miserly, cruel way of living. While the three spirits share these motivations, they each possess unique characteristics.

The spirit of Christmas Past appears with a light coming from its head in most versions of the story. The spirit appears as an androgynous, small figure speaking in a soft voice. Though not overbearing and loud, this spirit firmly guides Scrooge to follow his lead and journey back in time to see the events of Scrooge's past.

The spirit of Christmas Present is huge, loud, and cheerful compared to the first spirit. This spirit too has a light but it comes from torch he carries. Dickens describes this spirit as genial, with sparkling eyes and a cheerful voice. This spirit guides Scrooge to see the Christmas that the Cratchits share.

Compared to the jovial spirit of Christmas Present, the spirit of Christmas Yet to Come is a dark and gloomy figure who spreads a sense of impending sadness and loneliness. He appears much more haunting and scary as he shows Scrooge what the future may bring if he does not change the way he lives his life.

Read the study guide:
A Christmas Carol

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