Voted as the most popular of all Charles Dickens's characters, Ebenezer Scrooge is the main character in his novel 'A Christmas Carol', published in 1843. Ebenezer Scrooge is portrayed as a mean, unkind and miserly person who undergoes a change of heart after being visited by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Yet to Come. In 1841, Charles Dickens saw a grave marker during his evening walk in the Canongate Kirkyard in Edinburgh. The headstone was for a wine merchant, Ebenezer Lennox Scroggie. Due to the bad lights, Dickens misread the message on the headstone as 'a mean man' instead of 'a meal man'. This incident inspired him to write this story. The life and story of Scrooge has been adapted to modern day versions to explain the concepts in banking and finance. The character from the book has been adapted to movies; both animated and feature films. Here is a look at his story.
The story of Ebenezer Scrooge begins in London, where he decides to indulge his life in accumulating wealth, even at the cost of choosing money over the woman he loves. In Dickens's own words, "Scrooge has turned into a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner" who has lost all sentiments and family values. He has a clerk Bob Cratchit, who is mistreated regularly and a nephew, Fred Scrooge, who is also rebuffed by the old man.
On one Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his dead business partner, Jacob Marley. He says that Scrooge will also have an end like him if he doesn't change his ways. Marley's ghost then informs that three ghosts of Christmas will visit him that night. The first ghost, 'The Ghost of Christmas Past', appears and shows him scenes from his past life. These scenes start with him being a happy person but move on to depict how unsocial, money obsessed and depressingly workaholic he became over the years. The scenes start from his childhood and extend to his abandoned fiancee, Belle.
The second ghost, 'The Ghost of Christmas Present', visits to show him the happy and content life of his nephew Fred and his clerk Bob. He is particularly moved to compassion when he sees Bob's handicapped son, Tiny Tim, who is terminally ill and cannot be treated due to the large expenses required for the treatment. Scrooge then realizes his ruthlessness and the fact that he is paying too less to his clerk. He is further moved when, despite everything, the clerk's family still remembers him in their prayers and wishes the best for him.
Towards the end of the night comes the last ghost, 'The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come', who shows him how things will end up for him if he continues to live this way. He sees that his death is rejoiced by everyone around him and he is buried in a messy graveyard with a cheap tombstone. Brought to realization by the visions, Scrooge begs the ghost for another chance to make his life more meaningful. He wakes up on Christmas morning as a changed man with a kind, generous and benevolent heart.
This story explains the life of a ruthless man and how he changes to a better person on realising the selfishness and the incorrectness of his ways of life.