The first spirit that Scrooge encounters is the ghost of his ex-business partner, Marley. Although not among the three spirits of Christmas, Marley does have a major role in the story, as he is the messenger of news about the spirits of Christmas to Scrooge. Scrooge first sees “Marley’s face” on the doorknocker of his darkness-stricken house. At this stage in the story, Scrooge is still oblivious to the prospective hauntings that lie in front of him, but is still bewildered as to why he should see such a thing.
“As Scrooge looked fixedly at this phenomenon, it was a knocker again. To say that he was not startled, or that his blood was not conscious of a terrible sensation to which it had been a stranger from infancy, would be untrue. ” Before Scrooge shuts the door to enter his abode “he looks cautiously behind it first, as if to be terrified with the sight of Marley’s pigtail sticking out into the hall. ” This shows he is feeling perturbed and still unaware of what is to come.
Come night time he makes extra sure that everything is in order: “Nobody under the bed; nobody in the closet; nobody in his dressing gown, which was hanging up in a suspicious attitude against the wall. ” This is because he wants to make sure he is ‘safe’, and this is further shown when “he double-locks himself in” just to make sure, something he would not normally do. Other examples that Scrooge was still absorbed in the happenings on the doorknocker are that “if each smooth tile had been a blank at first, with power to shape his thoughts, there would have been a copy of old Marley’s head on every one.
” And that only “after several turns, he sat down” which shows he was disconcerted The bell. “It was with great astonishment, and with a strange, inexplicable dread, that as he looked, he saw this bell begin to swing. It swung so softly in the outset that it scarcely made a sound; but soon it rang out loudly, and so did every bell in the house. ” This is the first strange occurrence since the doorknocker, and Scrooge is made very much aware of this as “This might have lasted half a minute, or a minute, but it seemed an hour” to him.
“The cellar-door flew open with a booming sound, and then he heard the noise much louder, on the floors below; then coming up the stairs; then coming straight towards his door. ” Even though Scrooge is almost certainly scared by this strange phenomenon, he still refuses to accept it as the truth by dismissing it as “humbug” and saying “I wont believe it” as if it were entirely fallacious. When the ghost of Marley finally reveals himself, he has a “chain clasped about his middle” which is made out “of cash-boxes, keys, padlocks, ledgers, deeds, and heavy purses wrought in steel.
” All these items are the things that Scrooge personifies and the reason why Marley is shown to be wearing them. At first Scrooge doesn’t realize for what reason the ghost has arrived at his home and at this stage he is still unaware that the ghost that lies in front of him is in fact the ghost of his ex-business partner, Jacob Marley. After recognizing Marley, Scrooge still seems to be suspicious and when confronted with the question: “what evidence do you have of my reality, beyond that of your senses? ” he answers by saying he doesn’t know, but then when faced with “why do you doubt your senses?
” he tries to re-assure himself that this cannot be, by exposing his narrow mindedness with the reply, ” because a little thing affects them (senses). A slight disorder of the stomach makes them cheats. You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato. There’s more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are! ” The point at which Scrooge begins to believe that the spirit may indeed be real is when he sees the jaw of the ghost fall to the specters breast. As if a new person, Scrooge calls out “Mercy!
Dreadful apparition, why do you come to me? ” And by this stage in the story he is starting to believe Marley. As he says “you are fettered, tell me why? ” he is scared and it shows as he later says “Old Jacob Marley, tell me more. Speak comfort to me, Jacob! ” When he first hears what Marley has to say, he doesn’t quite understand what he means. Scrooge, who equates everything with money, cannot understand that, Marley, who was such a good businessman, should be burdened with the guilt of remorse. In his remorse, Marley is poignant and he expresses this by saying, “Oh!
Captive, bounds, and double-ironed, not to know, that ages of incessant labour, by immortal creatures, for this earth must pass into eternity before the good of which it is susceptible is all developed. Not to know that no space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity used! Yet such was I! Oh such was I! ” inspite of Marley trying to explain to him and begging him to mend his ways so that he wouldn’t have to suffer in the after-life, Scrooge doesn’t listen. Marley tells him that his only hope of salvation is the visiting of the three spirits. Scrooge does not understand the seriousness of his situation.
This is shown when he inquires “couldn’t I take ’em all at once, and have it over, Jacob? ” when told that the spirits would come on three consecutive nights on the stroke of midnight. As Marley’s apparition starts to fade through his bedroom window, Scrooge hears sounds of cries of regrets and sorrowful moans of bleak and restless souls in the air outside his window, each of them wearing chains like Marley. Scrooge is frightened to even contemplate becoming one of them and wants to deny all he has seen by shouting “Humbug” but it has infact drained him emotionally and he soon falls into a restless sleep without undressing.
The first ghost arrives unexpectedly. As Scrooge is so bemused by the incidence with Marley that he is unable to fall asleep and is doubting whether such a strange occurrence happened or not. “Was it a dream or not? ” and “Scrooge went to bed again, and thought, and thought, and thought it over and over and over, and could make nothing of it. ” As the time ticks by until midnight, Scrooge is made to seem exceedingly anxious: ” Ding, Dong! A quarter past, half past. Ding, Dong! A quarter to it, Ding, Dong!