Jacob Marley and His Long, Heavy Chains

Jacob Marley and His Long, Heavy Chains Ethics Fiction Victorian Age Visual Arts

Marley’s ghost carries a long, heavy chain. 

It is made even heavier with all the “cash-boxes, keys, padlocks, ledgers, deeds, and heavy purses wrought in steel” which are part of it.

Scrooge’s partner, dead “these seven years,” is enduring a terrible fate.  He tells Ebenezer:

It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide; and, if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death.  It is doomed to wander through the world—oh, woe is me!—and witness what it cannot share, but might have shared on earth, and turned to happiness!

I cannot rest, I cannot stay, I cannot linger anywhere. My spirit never walked beyond our counting-house—mark me;—in life my spirit never roved beyond the narrow limits of our money-changing hole; and weary journeys lie before me!

Troubled by this news, Scrooge asks Marley:   “Seven years dead ... And traveling all the time?”

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

Ebenezer asks how Marley’s Ghost travels:

On the wings of the wind.

This image, by Arthur Rackham, depicts Marley as he travels “On the wings of the wind,” bound and fettered by the chains he forged during his life.

Click on the image for a better view.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5189stories and lessons created

Original Release: Dec 29, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Nov 05, 2016

Media Credits

Image described above, by Arthur Rackham, included in the 1915 edition of “A Christmas Carol” published by J.B. Lippincott Company, at page 28.  

Illustration placed online, courtesy The Project Gutenberg.



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"Jacob Marley and His Long, Heavy Chains" AwesomeStories.com. Dec 29, 2013. Dec 10, 2019.
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