Ebenezer Scrooge

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Ebenezer Scrooge encounters "Ignorance" and "Want" in A Christmas Carol

Ebenezer Scrooge is the main character in Charles Dickens' story A Christmas Carol. His name has come into the English language as a byword for miserliness and misanthropy, traits displayed by Scrooge in the exaggerated manner for which Dickens is well-known. The story of his transformation by the three Ghosts of Christmas (Past, Present and Future) is a defining tale of the Christmas holiday.

Scrooge's phrase "Bah, humbug" has been used to express disgust with Christmas traditions in modern times.

The story of the Christmas Carol begins on Christmas Eve with Ebenezer Scrooge at his place of business. The book does not specifically state what business he is in, though it is usually assumed that he is a banker or professional money lender; some recent versions portray him as a solicitor. Whatever his main business is, he seems to have usurous relationships with people of little means. These relationships, along with his shabby treatment of his assistant, Bob Crachit, seem to be his major vices.

After introducing Scrooge and showing his shabby treatment of his personal business and relations the novel resumes with Scrooge at his residence, intent on spending Christmas Eve alone. Then he is woken in the night by the ghost of his deceased business partner, Jacob Marley. Jacob Marley in life spent his career exploiting the poor and as a result has been damned. Marley has visited Scrooge to warn him that he risks meeting the same fate, and to announce that he will be visited by three ghosts; Past, Present, and Future. The rest of the novel acts as a biography and psychological profile, showing his evolution to his current state, and the way he is viewed by others. The Ghost of Christmas Past takes him to see his time as a schoolboy many years earlier. Here it is suggested that his parents abandoned him to stay at his boarding school even during Christmas. This is relevant to Scrooge because it shows the beginnings of his lack of socialization and his lack of empathy. He has lack of socialization because of his lack of steady growth in a family unit. His lack of empathy comes from the way he was treated: his parents' lack of concern taught him not to feel concern for fellow humans. Later the ghost shows how his success in business made him become obsessive and develop a workaholic tendency. His money and work-obsessed personality traits eventually compels Scrooges fiancée, Belle, to leave him. This helps harden his heart. The untimely death of his sister, the one relative who had a close relationship with him also helps harden his heart.

The visit by the Ghost of Christmas Past also reveals the origin of Scrooge's neurotic hatred of Christmas. Most of the events that affected Scrooge's character occurred at Christmas. The important revelation from the spirit of Christmas Past is why Scrooge has such a negative view of Christmas: the book (which was written in 1843) does not state how long ago all this, or even how old Scrooge is now.

Scrooge has only resentment for the poor, thinking many would be better off dead, "decreasing the surplus population", and praise for the Victorian workhouses. He has a particular distaste for the merriment of Christmas, his single act of kindness being that he gives his clerk, Bob Cratchit, the day off, more as a result of social mores than any true kindness on his part. He sees the practice as akin to having his pocket picked.

One of the sources of his negative ways is the pain he feels for losing his love, Belle. Engaged to be married to her, he keeps pushing back the wedding until his finances are as healthy as he would like – something that, given his insatiable lust for money, would probably never happen. Realising, this Belle calls off the engagement, later marrying somebody else and making Scrooge further withdraw from society and relationships.

While the book has few overtly religious overtones (Christmas is shown more as a time for kindness and charity rather than worship), many note that the story follows the redemptive model taught by Jesus.

Derivative characters include Scrooge McDuck.de:Ebenezer Scrooge sv:Ebenezer Scrooge


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