The Redemption of Jacob Marley


One possibility for Jacob's visitation would be for him to be given the same, or similar, visitations that Scrooge rec'd but was unmoved, to his regret.



Victorian ghost: Dickens was a skeptic. But the belief was that the soul continues after death but can improve and is responsible for its actions in life. Communication was possible, via either mediums or spirit guides.



Wife's death is trigger? What is motivation? Marley sees Scrooge as like himself; no others are as damaged.

Marley relates to Scrooge and can save one person; would he save a poor child or a bigger fish: Scrooge, whose ripples would have a profound impact by his salvation.

Why Christmas Eve?

- Death 7 years before to the day

- Christmas is special to giving

Why 3 ghosts? Who decides? How does Marley appear? "How is it that I appear before you in a shape that you can see, I may not tell."

Issues to resolve:

- Overall structure

- "Procuring"? How?

- What motivates Jacob to "procure" this?

- Why 3 ghosts? Or does it even matter?

- How does Marley become miserly?

- What has been happening for 7 years?

- How does he become visible to Scrooge?


- Concept of ghost, to Dickens and to the era

- Archetypes of the time; clerks, sailors, etc.

- Absolute known details. What do I know for certain?

Threshold guardian or spirit guide?

- Fair witness

- In both worlds; will of the wisps?

Marley does not see the joy around him; he exists in a realm that occurs at the same time as the temporal world but all he sees is the lost opportunities.

The entity that exists in both worlds may be someone who is "beneath" him, such as a bag lady, or more appopriate to the time, a charwoman. She provokes him to see the joy that he has ignored.

Recognition of humanity, not money.

Trials related to his understanding, ie, bureaucracy, paperwork, etc

He goes through all of the trials and reaches the moment of redemption; someone asks for help and he fails to act - zap! back to square one.

"Wisp" speaks to him and people in the temporal world that he cannot speak to.

He fights to help those in need but does not see them as who they are; once he realizes who they are - his former tenants, people who owe him money, etc - he knows that he has been seeing them all along, just never realizing it.

He may have either put them where they are, kept them there by inaction. He sees that these are his own customers - and through Scrooge he can redeem them all.

His trials - paperwork, red tape, all those things he was good at.



During Marley's visitation, he tells Scrooge: "I am here tonight to warn you that you have yet a chance and hope of escaping my fate. A chance and hope of my procuring, Ebenezer."

What did Marley mean? "...escaping my fate." "...of my procuring."

Fate is what happens to Jacob, he's burdened by great chain that he built willingly over the years. So Jacob is not saying that Scrooge can escape death but rather "or would you know the weight and length of the strong coil you bear yourself."

Why seven years? Why Christmas Eve?

"The whole time. No rest, no peace. Incessant torture of remorse."

"Not to know that no space of regret can make amends for one life's opportunities misused!"