illustration of Ebenezer Scrooge in silhouette walking toward a Christmas tree and followed by the three ghosts

A Christmas Carol

by Charles Dickens

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A Christmas Carol Characters

The main characters in A Christmas Carol are Ebenezer Scrooge, Jacob Marley, and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet to Come. 

  • Ebenezer Scrooge is a businessman who only cares about money; he eventually learns to be generous.
  • Jacob Marley is Scrooge’s deceased business partner. His ghost visits Scrooge and warns him to change his ways.
  • The Ghost of Christmas Past takes Scrooge back in time to his childhood.
  • The Ghost of Christmas Present shows Scrooge how the people around him enjoy Christmas.
  • The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come shows Scrooge the misery that awaits him, should he refuse to change.


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Last Updated on September 5, 2023, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1058

Ebenezer Scrooge

Ebenezer Scrooge begins the story as a mean, miserable, tight-fisted old man whose main preoccupation in life is making money and holding on to it. The story reveals that he knew happiness as a child and as a young man, when he loved and was loved by a beautiful young woman named Belle. But the love of money drove all other passions out of his heart, and at the beginning of the story he seems to care for no one—though his nephew, Fred, makes overtures of friendship to him and always invites him to dinner on Christmas Day.

Scrooge particularly hates Christmas because he sees it as a time when people stop being productive and indulge in feckless, idle behavior, "paying bills without money." He begrudges Bob Cratchit his day's holiday, remarking that he still has to pay him for a day's work and that the Christmas season is "A poor excuse for picking a man’s pocket every twenty-fifth of December!"

Scrooge is a flat character (like everyone else in the story), but he is a rare example of a flat character who is also dynamic, since he undergoes a massive change over the course of the night. On Christmas morning, he reforms completely and becomes a thoroughly benevolent and generous old gentlemen, showering gifts on Bob, Fred, and all those at whom he previously sneered.

Bob Cratchit

Bob Cratchit is Scrooge's long-suffering, mild-mannered clerk. He is paid only fifteen shillings a week and lives in poverty. However, he is still able to provide a Christmas feast for his family and is amiable enough to drink Scrooge's health as "the founder of the feast" on Christmas Day.

Tiny Tim (Tim Cratchit)

Tiny Tim is Bob Cratchit's youngest son. He has been crippled from birth and walks with the support of a crutch and an iron frame. Scrooge asks the Ghost of Christmas Present whether Tiny Tim will live and is told that, as things stand, he will die. This, however, is altered when Scrooge helps the Cratchits and becomes a second father to Tiny Tim. Tiny Tim's words "God bless us every one" form one of the best-known phrases in the story.

Jacob Marley

Jacob Marley was Scrooge's business partner; he died seven years before the story begins. Marley was just as greedy as Scrooge when they were alive but now returns as a ghost to warn Scrooge against continuing on the same path. Marley wears a chain that he says he forged in life. He tells Scrooge that Scrooge, too, has been forging a chain for himself, which was as long and heavy as Marley's seven years ago and has grown a great deal since then.

The Ghost of Christmas Past

The Ghost of Christmas Past is described as a strange figure, looking at first like a child but then more like an old man "viewed through some supernatural medium, which gave him the appearance of having receded from the view, and being diminished to a child's proportions." The ghost has white hair but is as fresh-faced as a child and has long, muscular arms. It wears a pure white tunic trimmed with summer flowers and carries a holly branch. A jet of light springs from the crown of its head, illuminating everything around it, but this can be extinguished by putting on a cap. The ghost shows Scrooge Christmases from his childhood and youth.

The Ghost of Christmas Present

The Ghost of Christmas Present is a giant, green-robed figure who carries a torch like a cornucopia. It is genial and joyful and wears a holly wreath...

(This entire section contains 1058 words.)

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as a crown. The ghost shows Scrooge the festivities at Bob Cratchit's house and at the home of his nephew, Fred, before showing him two wretched, abject, miserable children, symbols of Ignorance and Want.

The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

The third and final spirit to visit Scrooge is covered in a black shroud that leaves nothing visible except one outstretched hand. It is tall and stately and fills Scrooge with dread. Scrooge attempts to question the spirit, but it remains silent and only points or inclines its head in answer. Scrooge says he fears this spirit more than the others but, by this time, believes that its purpose is to do him good.


Fred is Scrooge's nephew, the only child of his sister, Fan, who died young. He is a kind, friendly, sincere young man who loves Christmas and believes that it does everyone good, as it brings people together and leads them to behave more charitably to one another, though he is poor and admits to Scrooge that Christmas never made him any richer. He always invites Scrooge to Christmas dinner, and Scrooge always refuses.

Old Fezziwig

Old Fezziwig was Scrooge's employer, to whom he was apprenticed as a young clerk. He was a jolly, festive man who loved Christmas and would give a party in his office on Christmas Eve, dancing, capering, and making merry with his wife and daughters.


Belle was a beautiful girl who loved Scrooge when he was a young man. She saw him becoming mean and avaricious and left him when she saw that he cared more for money than anything else. She later married another man and had many children and a happy family life without ever becoming rich.

Martha Cratchit

Martha is Bob Cratchit's eldest daughter. She works as an apprentice in a milliner's shop and comes to spend Christmas with her family.

Peter Cratchit

Peter is Bob Cratchit's eldest son. On Christmas Day, he is shown wearing his father's shirt collar, which is far too big for him, and helping to prepare the Christmas feast. Bob discusses securing him a job "which would bring in, if obtained, full five-and-sixpence weekly."

Fan Scrooge

Fan is Scrooge's sister; he sees her in his vision of Christmas Past as a joyful child who once brought him home from school for Christmas. She is described as being "a delicate creature, whom a breath might have withered" but with a large heart. She died young after having one child, Scrooge's nephew, Fred.


Joe is a fence, or receiver of stolen goods, to whom Mrs. Dilber sells Scrooge's property in stave 4.

Mrs. Dilber

Mrs. Dilber is a laundress who worked for Scrooge. In stave 4, he sees her in the future selling off sheets, towels, clothes, and silver she stole from his house.