In A Christmas Carol, what is the warning that Marley gives Scrooge?

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jennifer-taubenheim eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Marley comes to warn Scrooge of the future that is waiting for him if he does not change his ways. He says that it is the job of men to live among and help their fellow man when they are alive. If they do not do so, they are condemned to do so in death. They will wander through the world and see the hurting and suffering in the world, wanting to interfere and do good, but being unable to do anything but observe. As he speaks, Scrooge sees that Marley wears a chain and he asks about it. Marley says that he wears the chain that he created in his life. “I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it. Is its pattern strange to you?” Scrooge sees that it is made of “cash-boxes, keys, padlocks, ledgers, deeds, and heavy purses wrought in steel.” In other words, the tools of his business. The chain is created by caring more about money than people. To further make his point, Marley allows Scrooge a glimpse of the ghosts who are wandering and wailing in emotional pain just outside his own window.

kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To answer this question, take a look at the conversation between the ghost of Jacob Marley and Scrooge in Stave One. According to Jacob, his visit to Scrooge has a key purpose:

"I am here to-night to warn you, that you have yet a chance and hope of escaping my fate."

In other words, Marley hopes that he can prevent Scrooge from having to endure the same fate in the afterlife. For Marley, life after death has been very hard. Because of his endless pursuit of money, for example, Marley must wear a chain around his body for the rest of eternity. This chain is "forged" from the symbols of his greed: padlocks, purses, and keys. If Scrooge continues to be a greedy miser, only interested in the success of his business, Marley is certain that he will also have to wear a chain.

Marley's warning, therefore, is that Scrooge must focus less on materialistic matters and instead begin to care about those around him. If he does not, he will spend the rest of eternity paying for it.

dafe | Student

Jacob Marley appears to scrooge & he told  him even after his death he had no peace as when he was alive he ran only for money he had not done any charity or mercy now he is full of remorse & doing penance for his foolishness. He warned him on saying not to run for money & gave him advise to spare time for mercy and charity.

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A Christmas Carol

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