How did Dickens use Marley’s Ghost in this extract:?
Marley was scrooge’s business partner in, although not really on equal terms. He uses the metaphors of chains to express his servitude and his obsession with his work. He speaks for forging the chains in life but that he’s wearing them now as though implying that at that time in life he was already, perhaps even knowingly, binding himself to his work, working so hard and for such long hours, interested in only the business, that he would be weighed down by that commitment to the point that it would ultimately lead to his death. He speaks of the long chains that bind him are always the ones that bind Scrooge. He uses the chains as a metaphor for their business and just as that business sort of enslaved Marley, it will and is doing the same to Scrooge.
The business, “… the counting house…” absorbed him so completely that he cannot even escape it in death… as though this place has become his own person hell, a place that he believed in life once brought him stability and security now in death is a source of suffering, which it was in life to as he states that “I made it link by link, yard by yard, I girded it on my own free will..” as though he knew eventually it would destroy him but couldn’t do anything about it.
He uses that connection, that business, those chains of his that are also Scrooges to kind of warn scrooge that he would become like him. It’s almost as though Scrooge is viewing a twisted reflection of himself, what he is now… a workaholic bound by the chains of his own labour… and what he will become. I know that Marley introduces the three ghosts but it’s almost as though the ghosts of Christmas present and future and to a point the past are already here in Marley.
How Dickens uses the ghosts to help Scrooge change his attitudes and behaviour in the novel as a whole?
Light and dark, good and bad, I think the ghost of Christmas past presents a comparison between how his life used to be as child, in happier times with how it is now. I think that Scrooge thinks that his life now is good. He’s wealthy. He has a business but the meanness has kind of crept up on him over the years that he fails to notice even now how his behaviours and attitudes damage those around him and himself. It shows him how things were and based upon that how his life could have gone and how different it could be from what he has now… how much better.
This is emphasised in the ghost of Christmas present that shows him his life now and the lives of those around him, of the people that he has touched in some way. The focus here is Tim and his death or the death that will come about if Scrooge does not change his ways. It shows him the now behind that curtain of illusion that Scrooge sees where he believes that things are not really that bad for those around him… or that he doesn’t care because he never really sees the real consequences of his attitudes: the suffering he’s causing others.
There is like an escalation from the past to the present and into the future when we see the Ghost of Christmas yet to come as if there is one thing that he cared most strongly about before Marley’s visit it was his own life. This ghost shows him that his own life will end if he does not change. The ghost does not speak, unlike the others. I think this suggests that there is nothing to say. The action of showing Scrooge his own grave speaks lounder than anything the ghost could possibly say. Also, the other ghosts speak in metaphors a lot but behind that there is always the suggesting of hope if he does change his ways. The ghost of Christmas yet to be hits harder. He’s not so subtle of forgiving. He kind of just shows him in a way that says. This is it. If you don’t change, you will die. There are no ifs and buts, no exceptions or excuses.
The ghosts are used in a way not to just simply threaten him but to show him the devastating consequences of his actions, using a past before his meanness came about to highlight that his life could have been so much different and he a better person. It’s important in the story that he develops not only a need to change but that he wants to and that he genuinely feels guilty for the hardships he’s caused others. The ghosts don’t just show him or tell him that he needs to change; they teach him and it is himself who brings that change about.