Who are the Ghosts of A Christmas Carol?

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Four supernatural beings visit Ebenezer Scrooge to help him change his ways and become a better person. Here are those four ghosts of A Christmas Carol

The Ghosts of A Christmas Carol

1. Jacob Marley’s Ghost

Alex Guinness as Jacob Marley in Scrooge 1970 - the first ghost of A Christmas Carol to appear before Ebenezer
Alex Guinness as Jacob Marley in Scrooge 1970.

Jacob Marley’s ghost is not one of the three Christmas spirits, but rather the ghost of Scrooge’s former business partner, who has been dead for seven years.

Marley appears to Scrooge on the night before Christmas Eve, warning him of the three spirits who will visit him, and urging him to change his ways before it’s too late.

Marley is burdened with heavy chains, representing the weight of his own sins, and he tells Scrooge that he too will be doomed to this fate if he does not repent.

Marley’s ghost serves as a catalyst for Scrooge’s transformation, and shows him the consequences of his own greed and selfishness.

Famous actors to portray Jacob Marley’s Ghost include: Alec Guinness, Michael Horden, Gary Oldman, Jim Carrey and Frank Finlay.

2. The Ghost of Christmas Past

Angela Pleasence as The Ghost of Christmas Past in A Christmas Carol 1984.
Angela Pleasence as The Ghost of Christmas Past in A Christmas Carol 1984.

The Ghost of Christmas Past is the first spirit that appears to Scrooge.

This spirit is described as an ethereal figure with a bright light shining from its head, and it has the ability to transport Scrooge back in time to revisit key events from his past.

The ghost shows Scrooge his childhood and young adulthood, including his time as an apprentice to Fezziwig, a kindhearted and generous employer who contrasted sharply with Scrooge’s current miserly ways.

The ghost also shows Scrooge his relationship with his sister Fan, who died young, and his lost love Belle, who left him because of his growing obsession with money.

The Ghost of Christmas Past represents memory, and helps Scrooge understand how his past has influenced his present.

Famous actors to portray The Ghost of Christmas Past include: Angela Pleasence, Edith Evans, Gary Coleman and Olivia Coleman.

3. The Ghost of Christmas Present

One of four Ghosts of A Christmas Carol - Francis de Wolff as The Ghost of Christmas Present in Scrooge 1951 with Alistair Sim.
Francis de Wolff as The Ghost of Christmas Present in Scrooge 1951 with Alistair Sim.

The Ghost of Christmas Present is the second of the four Ghosts of A Christmas Carol to visit Scrooge.

It is a large, jolly figure dressed in green robes, with a wreath of holly on its head and a torch in its hand.

The ghost shows Scrooge the joy and abundance of Christmas Day, including the feasting, singing, and dancing of the people around him.

The ghost takes Scrooge to the home of Bob Cratchit, his underpaid and overworked clerk, where Scrooge sees the love and affection that the Cratchit family shares despite their limited means. T

he Ghost of Christmas Present represents generosity and compassion, and helps Scrooge understand the importance of caring for others.

Famous actors to portray The Ghost of Christmas Present include: Kenneth More, Francis de Wolff, Edward Woodward and Carole Kane.

4. The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

Don Austen was the puppeteer behind The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come in A Muppet Christmas Carol 1992, seen here with Michael Caine.
Don Austen was the puppeteer behind The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come in A Muppet Christmas Carol 1992, seen here with Michael Caine.

The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is the most terrifying of the spirits, and it represents the fear of death and the consequences of one’s actions.

The ghost is depicted as a faceless, silent figure dressed in a dark robe, carrying a scythe.

The ghost takes Scrooge to several scenes of the future, including his own death and the unfeeling reaction of those around him, as well as the death of Tiny Tim and the grieving of the Cratchit family.

The ghost shows Scrooge the bleak and lonely future that awaits him if he continues on his current path, and it is only through this terrifying vision that Scrooge is finally motivated to change his ways.

Famous actors to portray The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come include: Michael Carter, Robert Shaw, Don Austen and Tracy Morgan. (The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is usually voiceless covered in a hood, so the role is rarely played by the high-profile actor.)

Who was your favourite of the ghosts of A Christmas Carol? Tell us in the comments section below!

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