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Bah, humbug!
―"Ebenezer Scrooge"

Ebenezer Scrooge is the main protagonist of Charles Dickens' classic story A Christmas Carol. He is a selfish and stingy old man who works as an investment banker and commodity trader in London. Scrooge has no appreciation for fun and kindness, seeing it as a waste, and is hated by everyone else due to his nature. He has a particular hatred of Christmas, being the time of kindness and giving that it is. To him, "peace on Earth" and "good will to all men" is like a knife to his heart (until his reformation at the end of the film).



As with every adaptation of the character, Ebenezer Scrooge is a miserly, hate-filled individual who shows no care or empathy for anyone or anything in the world except for money. The reason for this is primarily due to the combined frustration of his broken family, his financial woes and his true love leaving him. Interestingly, he does show some ease when he, reluctantly, allows Bob Cratchit to take Christmas off, somewhat foreshadowing his reformation. He considers himself logical, but is easily frightened by the sight of the supernatural, showing that he is willing to accept the strange and unusual, at least when there is definite proof. By the end of the story, Scrooge radically changes to a giddier, excitable and even playful fellow. The haunting from the spirits changes his worldview and makes him see the value in his fellow man. He is described as being a "second father" to Tiny Tim, implying that he now possesses a paternal attachment.

While Scrooge is essentially the same person in both the 2009 adaptation and The Muppets version, Jim Carrey and Michael Caine's portrayals are noticeably different. Carrey is much harsher and angry while Caine is more cold and reserved with only occasional outbursts. Caine's version is also depicted as being reasonable and is shown sad and confused when speaking with the Ghost of Christmas Past, but happy and enlivened when with the Ghost of Christmas Present. Carrey's portrayal maintains a sense of reluctance and confusion when interacting with both ghosts.

Physical appearance[]

The typical portrayal of Scrooge is that of a thin, elderly man who prominently wears black clothing, usually of the Victorian era, accompanied alongside a black top hat with a matching band and a walking cane. Despite his aged appearance, both adaptations roughly place Scrooge as being in his late 50's. The 2009 film version specifically places his birth date as February 7, 1786. Seeing as how the film is set on December 25, 1843, that would mean that Scrooge is about 57 at the time of the film's events.


A Christmas Carol[]

On Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his long-dead business partner Jacob Marley, who died exactly 7 years ago (apparently, on Christmas Eve or Day). Like Scrooge, Marley was a bitter miser in life and, as punishment for his evil ways, is now damned to eternally wander the earth, carrying heavy chains representing his acts of greed. Marley tells Scrooge that if he does not immediately change his ways, he will suffer a similar fate and informs him that he will be visited by three more spirits that night. As of that moment, Scrooge's journey to redemption had begun.

The first of the three spirits is the candle-like Ghost of Christmas Past, who shows Scrooge his own troubled past, including how he became the miserable old man he is and that his selfishness cost him his ex-fiancée Belle.

Next is the Ghost of Christmas Present: a hairy mini-giant, who shows him things as they currently are, including the joys of the Christmas season and why Scrooge is so hated. In addition, he shows Scrooge the poor living conditions of Scrooge's underpaid and poorly treated employee, the good-natured Bob Cratchit, and his family, who are, nevertheless, thankful for what little they have. Cratchit's son, Tiny Tim, is very ill and will die if Scrooge's behavior does not change. The ghost also warns Scrooge about Want and Ignorance before he dies.

The third and most ghastly spirit, the mute, but Grim Reaper-like Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come, shows Scrooge what will happen if he does not change his ways. This ghost occasionally chases Scrooge around London while riding a ghost-like hearse drawn by two horses (perhaps toying with Scrooge). One scene sees Scrooge shrinking down and escaping through drainpipes. In this future, Scrooge has just died and is completely unmourned by the people; his death is, in fact, celebrated by many. The only "true" happiness anyone has obtained from his death is a poor family who now has more time to pay off their debt. In addition, Tiny Tim has also recently died, leaving the Cratchit family in mourning. Scrooge is soon sitting near a grave, only for the ghost to reveal it is his own, and that his death will be on Christmas Morning. Scrooge is horrified and begs the silent spirit for forgiveness, promising to change his ways, when he suddenly wakes up.

It is Christmas morning and Scrooge immediately greets the people of London with his newfound kindness and enthusiasm, giving Bob Cratchit a raise and creating a bright future for Tiny Tim, to whom Scrooge became like a second father.

The Muppet Christmas Carol[]

Scrooge (Michael Caine) 2

Scrooge as he appears in The Muppet Christmas Carol

His appearance in this movie is more or less the same as in the animated movie, the only differences being that Scrooge had two business partners instead of one (to accommodate Statler and Waldorf playing those roles), and that the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come doesn't shrink Scrooge or chase him around. Another interesting trait to note is that this version is shown to have already hated Christmas as a child and already greatly business minded as a young adult, as he confronted Fozziwig over how much was being spent on the party he was throwing, but was told to ignore it and have fun.

Disney characters portraying Scrooge[]


The Disney Wiki has a collection of images and media related to Ebenezer Scrooge.


  • Charles Dickens supposedly based Scrooge on notorious British politician and miser John Elwes whose descendent, Cary Elwes, would go on to star in the 2009 film adaptation of A Christmas Carol.
  • This is the second notorious Christmas hating character that Jim Carrey has played, the first one being The Grinch in Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
  • While it seems fairly odd by today's standards that Scrooge would be considered well on his way to death at 57, at the time the movie takes place, it would be fairly reasonable and accurate as the average life span at the time had most people dying before the age of 60. Fittingly, Dickens himself would pass away at the age of 58.
    • Additionally, Scrooge and Dickens were both born on February 7, but are 26 years apart (Scrooge in 1786 and Dickens in 1812).

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Ebenezer ScroogeBob CrachitFred HolywellBelleJacob MarleyMrs. CrachitTiny TimMr. FezziwigFanMrs. DilberOld JoeThe Ghost of Christmas PastThe Ghost of Christmas PresentThe Ghost of Christmas Yet to ComeIgnorance and Want
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Mickey's Christmas CarolThe Muppet Christmas CarolWinnie the Pooh: Springtime with RooDick Daring's All-Star Holiday Stunt Spectacular VA London CarolCaptain ScroogeA Christmas CruellaMarley