Who is the first of the three Christmas spirits who visits Scrooge?  

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kipling2448 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As the earlier answer noted, Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by four spirits during his transformative night in Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol. In Stave I of Dickens’ story, the miserly, bitter businessman returns to his home one night before Christmas and experiences a very peculiar premonition. As Scrooge begins to open the door to his home, the knocker on the door assumes the appearance of his late businessman Jacob Marley. It is Marley’s spirit that will visit Scrooge that night and warn him of the impending visits to come from three more spirits. Marley’s spirit is wrapped in chains, the chains, the spirit explains to the uncomprehending Scrooge, that “forged in life.”

Following the departure of Marley’s spirit, the first of the three spirits to which Scrooge’s late-partner referred materializes, The Ghost of Christmas Past. For the purpose of answering the question regarding the identity of the first of the three spirits to visit (or haunt) Scrooge, then, the answer would be the Ghost of Christmas Past. It is this spirit, as the title suggests, that transports Scrooge to the old man’s past to illustrate the pattern of incivility and condemnation that has characterized his life.

holfie eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by four spirits altogether.  The first spirit in general is the ghost of Jacob Marley, his former business partner.  It is Marley who tells Ebenezer that he will be visited by three Christmas ghosts over the course of the night.

The first Christmas ghost to visit is the Ghost of Christmas Past.  It is his job to help Ebenezer to revisit the Christmases of his past, scenes that include his former fiancee, Belle, and his now deceased sister, Fan.  It is in Scrooge's past that we meet Fezziwig, a shrewd businessman who manages to also enjoy a hearty personal life.  In Fezziwig, we see the potential for what Scrooge could become.

When the Ghost of Christmas Past leaves, the Ghost of Christmas Present arrives.  He, in turn, is followed by the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.

Read the study guide:
A Christmas Carol

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