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Examine the presentation of the three spirits and Marley’s ghost in “A Christmas carol” and show the differences and similarities in their appearance, attitude towards Scrooge and the effect upon him. Consider also the spectre in “The Signalman” In a Christmas carol by Charles Dickens, the four ghosts are all described differently. They all help to change scrooge into a nicer person. The ghosts all act disparately and look disparately. Scrooge has a different effect on each one of the ghosts, two of the ghosts he likes and one of the ghosts he dislikes.
Scrooge is also treated dissimilar, some ghosts care for him, and others are forceful. The ghost of Marley appears first, he is described as ‘In his pigtail, usual waistcoat, tights and boots; the tassels on the latter bristling, like his pigtail, and his coat-skirts, and the hair upon his head. ‘ Marley also had a chain around his middle, which was long and wound about him like a tail. The chain was made of cash boxes, keys, padlocks, ledgers, deed and heavy purses wrought in steel. Marleys body was transparent, so Scrooge could see the 2 buttons on his coat behind.
He also had a handkerchief wrapped around his head and chin which held his jaw up. The ghost of Christmas past turns up next. He is described as ‘a strange figure-like a child; yet not so like a child as 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 Childs proportions. ‘ The ghost’s hair hung about its neck and down its back. His hair was white, as if with age; but his face wasn’t old, and didn’t have any wrinkles in it. He had long and muscular arms, like his hands.
Its legs and feet were delicately formed. The ghost wore a white tunic, and round its waist was a lustrous belt. ‘It held a branch of fresh green holly in its hand; and in singular contradiction of that wintry emblem, had its dress trimmed with summer flowers. ‘ The strangest thing about the ghost was that from the crown of its head sprang a clear jet of light, which by all was visible to see ‘ and was doubtless the occasion of its using, in its duller moments, a great extinguisher for a cap, which it now held under its arm. ‘
The next ghost was the ghost of Christmas present, he was clothed in one simple deep green robe, which was bordered with white fur. ‘This garment hung so loosely on the figure, that its capacious breast was bare, as if disdaining to be warded or concealed by any artifice. ‘ His feet was also bare, and on its head it wore no other covering than a holly wreath with shining icicles. ‘Its dark brown curls were long and free; free as its genial face, its sparkling eye. Its open hand, its cheery voice, its unconstrained demeanour, and its joyful air.
‘ Around the ghosts middle was an antique scabbard; but there wasn’t a sword in it, and the ancient sheath was eaten up with rust. The last of the ghosts to meet Scrooge was the ghost of Christmas yet to come. You couldn’t see any of its facial features because ‘it was shrouded in a deep black garment, which concealed its face, its head and its form, and left nothing of it visible, save one outstretched hand. ‘ Because of this it would have been difficult to detach its figure from the night, and separate it from the darkness by which it was surrounded.
The spectre in the signalman by Charles Dickens isn’t described very well in the story, all we know is that the spectre is a man and he has a sleeve over his arm. His voice was hoarse with shouting ‘halloa, below there! ‘ In the Christmas carol, Marley is a friendly ghost and he is very nice, he enjoys being in the company of Scrooge, Scrooge says ‘you were always a good friend to me. ‘ He obviously cares about Scrooge because he wouldn’t have gone there to warn him about the three ghosts and what would happen to him if he kept hating Christmas.
Marley was the only true friend Scrooge has had. The ghost of Christmas past is nice, friendly and reasonable. The ghost cared for Scrooge, he once asked him ‘what’s the matter? ‘ Even though he is nice and friendly, he forces Scrooge into seeing things that he doesn’t want to see. For example Scrooge says ‘leave me, take me back, haunt me no longer. ‘ ‘But the relentless ghost pinched him in both arms and forced him to observe what happened next. ‘ The ghost of Christmas present is a kind and jolly ghost. The ghost and Scrooge were cheerful when they visited homes.
‘The spirit stood besides sickbeds, and they were cheerful and they were patient in their greater hope, by poverty and it was rich. ‘ The ghost makes Scrooge more relaxed around him, he isn’t frightened, and he is calm in the ghost’s presence. Like the ghost of Christmas past, this spirit is also forceful and makes him see what he doesn’t want to see. The ghost of Christmas yet to come doesn’t speak at all, this ghost is the one Scrooge is scared of most. ‘Scrooge feared the silent shape so much that his legs trembled beneath him, and he found that he could hardly stand when he prepared to follow it.
Scrooge is frightened of him the most because he doesn’t know what his personality is like; with the other ghosts they were kind and caring. This ghost just points to places. But when Scrooge saw his grave then he got worried and cried ‘hear me! I am not the man I was, I will not be the man I must have been but for this intercourse. Why show me this if I am past all hope? ‘ When Marley visits Scrooge, he is scared at first, because he doesn’t know who it is, until the ghost got a bit closer, Scrooge was surprised to see his old friend, when Marley walked off to the window ‘it beckoned Scrooge to approach, which he did.