Why do you think the image of Marley appears to Scrooge in A Christmas Carol?  

In A Christmas Carol, the image of Marley appears to Scrooge to help prepare him for the arrival of the three ghosts that are to come. Marley wants to help Scrooge redeem his life before his old friend ends up like him, wandering the earth as a ghost dragging a heavy chain.

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“You were always a good friend to me,” said Scrooge.
(stave 1)

Ebenezer Scrooge speaks these words to the ghost of his former business partner, Jacob Marley, on Christmas Eve, on the seventh anniversary of Marley's death.

The narrator of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol tells the reader in stave 1 that Scrooge was Marley's "sole friend." It's likely that Marley was Scrooge's sole friend as well. The narrator mentions Scrooge's "business friends in the city," but it's possible that these "business friends" were little more than associates and acquaintances who counted Scrooge among their "friends" because of mutually profitable business arrangements between them, rather than as a reflection of any true emotional bond of friendship.

Scrooge's friendship with Marley might have been a friendship in name only, as a mutually profitable partner-to-partner relationship. When Scrooge demands to know who Marley is, Marley doesn't respond by saying that he was his friend. Instead, Marley says, "I was your partner, Jacob Marley," thereby asserting the relative importance of their partnership and their friendship.

However, the events of that Christmas Eve when Marley's ghost appears to Scrooge seem to demonstrate that Scrooge and Marley were more than just partners, and they might well have been friends, too, even if in their own ways.

Marley explains to Scrooge that, because of the life he led, he's been doomed to wander throughout the world "and witness what it cannot share, but might have shared on earth, and turned to happiness." Marley says that he's come to warn Scrooge that Scrooge might yet have "a chance and hope of escaping my fate."

Marley says one more, very important thing which is only occasionally mentioned and rarely emphasized in summaries and critical analyses of A Christmas Carol:

A chance and hope of my procuring, Ebenezer.

(stave 1)

Somehow, Marley arranges to actually appear to Scrooge in person this Christmas Eve. When Marley previously visited Scrooge he had been invisible to him.

How it is that I appear before you in a shape that you can see, I may not tell. I have sat invisible beside you many and many a day.

Marley knows Scrooge well enough to realize that his appearance alone, even as a ghastly semitransparent ghost with "death-cold eyes" who can walk through heavy doors, won't be enough to cause Scrooge to change his "squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous" ways, so Marley somehow arranges for the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come visit Scrooge as well.

Marley is deeply offended when Scrooge doesn't take him seriously and says that he'd rather not be visited by the ghosts or that he'd prefer to "take ’em all at once, and have it over." Marley is quick to impress on Scrooge the importance of his own visit and that without the ghosts' visits, "you cannot hope to shun the path I tread."

Marley must have been quite a good friend to Scrooge when he was alive—or learned to be a good friend to Scrooge after his death—to go to the trouble of "procuring" his own appearance as well as the appearance of the three spirits to help Scrooge learn to be a better person and to spare him the suffering and regret that Marley is condemned to endure as the result of his own "life’s opportunity misused."

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Marley appears to Scrooge from beyond the grave because he wants to help his old friend to redeem his life. Marley appears to be in purgatory, being purified through a long process of suffering. He says he

is doomed to wander through the world—oh, woe is me!—and witness what it cannot share, but might have shared on earth, and turned to happiness!

Marley adds that at Christmas, he has the hardest time:

“At this time of the rolling year,” the spectre said, “I suffer most.”

He suffers because he thinks of all the needy people he looked at indifferently in life and never helped—and now he wonders why he failed to do so. Marley has an interest in helping Scrooge to avoid his fate of wandering the earth filled with regrets and dragging a heavy chain. However, as he explains, because of his weight of his sins, he can do no more than act a messenger, preparing Scrooge by telling his story to receive visits from the three ghosts that are to come. Marley is a good intermediary because he was the one person in Scrooge's mature life that he felt close to and trusted. Marley's words have weight.

Marley appears to be working off the debt of all he didn't do in life for other people so that he can get out of purgatory eventually. He explains that those who don't mingle with and help their fellows in life are condemned to mingle with them after death. By helping Scrooge, Marley is also helping himself work off his torment.

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Marley appeared to Scrooge because he wanted to help him make more of his life.

Jacob Marley was Scrooge’s business partner.  He died seven years before the book opens, on Christmas Eve.  Scrooge did not have many friends and was not the most hospitable person.  However, Marley was a good friend to Scrooge.  Both of them had similar attitudes toward making money.

When he died, Marley became a ghost.  Marley first appeared in the knocker to get Scrooge off-balance.  He wanted Scrooge a little shaken.  When he sees Scrooge he explains why he became a ghost.  He said it was because he had not been a better man during his lifetime.

“It is required of every man,” the Ghost returned, “that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellowmen, and travel far and wide; and if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death. …” (Stave One)

The ghost of Marley tells Scrooge that he has to witness the inequities of the world without being able to change them.  He has been watching Scrooge, and somehow arranged a special chance for him.  He explains to Scrooge that he is fettered because of his greed during his life, and Scrooge has continued to add to his chains.

“Or would you know,” pursued the Ghost, “the weight and length of the strong coil you bear yourself? It was full as heavy and as long as this, seven Christmas Eves ago. You have laboured on it, since. It is a ponderous chain!” (Stave One)

It is because of this that Marley arranges for the three ghosts to visit Scrooge.  He does not give Scrooge many details, except that Scrooge has a “chance and hope” of escaping his fate.  Scrooge is not thrilled with the idea of being haunted by three Spirits.  Marley tells him that for his own sake, he needs to remember their visit.

Scrooge does go along with the ghosts, and their lessons are so strong that they actually work.  When Scrooge sees his past, present, and future and how he influences others, he emerges a changed man.  He realizes that Jacob Marley was right—mankind is everyone’s business, and it is his responsibility to help the less fortunate.

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