Scrooge's Monologue in 'A Christmas Carol'

The greedy Scrooge finally repents for his sins

In perhaps the scariest part of Charles Dickens' classic tale "A Christmas Carol," the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge gets a visit from the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. In his monologue to the voiceless ghost, Scrooge finally comes to realize the error of his ways and asks if there is still time for him to repent. 

History of 'A Christmas Carol'

As Christmas 1843 approached, Dickens, already an established author of some acclaim, was having some financial difficulties.

He rushed the story into print in just a few months, and it was an immediate success.

Beyond elevating Dickens' personal fortunes, "A Christmas Carol" also made Christmas a much more popular holiday in Victorian England and eventually in most of the Western world. The novel also gave rise to the idea that Christmas should be a time when people help the less fortunate. 

Brief Overview of 'A Christmas Carol'

Ebenezer Scrooge, a greedy business owner, sees little reason why he should give his hired man Bob Cratchit a day off for Christmas. Cratchit, a family man with a sick child, Tiny Tim, wishes Scrooge a Happy Christmas before departing for the day on Christmas Eve.

On Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by four ghosts: his late business partner Jacob Marley, who shows him the chains he forged in life and must carry in the afterlife. Had he been a kinder person, he would not be so encumbered, Marley explains to Scrooge.

 

Scrooge is then visited by three other spirits: the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Yet to Come. They show him how his greed and selfishness has caused heartache for others and cost him happiness. Particularly sad is the plight of Cratchit's family and his sickly youngest child Tiny Tim.

 

By the end of "A Christmas Carol, Scrooge is a changed man and sets out to help Cratchit and his family. 

Scrooge's Monologue to the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

After the ghost reveals the sad fate of Tiny Tim, he shows Scrooge a gravestone with his name engraved upon it. In this monologue, Scrooge repents his avaricious ways and embraces the holiday spirit:

Before I draw nearer to that stone to which you point, answer me one question. Are these the shadows of the things that Will be, or are they shadows of things that May be, only? Men's courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead, but if the courses be departed from, the ends will change. Say it is thus with what you show me!

(Scrooge leans forward and reads his name upon the headstone)

Am I that man who lay upon the bed? No, Spirit! Oh no, no! Spirit! 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? Good Spirit, your nature intercedes for me, and pities me. Assure me that I yet may change these shadows you have shown me, by an altered life! I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.

I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach. Oh, tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone!