I wear the chain I forged in life.

Background.

itemI wear the chain I forged in life” is a quotation taken from A Christmas Carol (Stave 1).

item A Christmas Carol is a novella, or short story, written by Charles Dickens and first published in the Christmas of 1843.

 

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Illustration from the original publication of A Christmas Carol showing Ebenezer Scrooge (left), here being visited by the ghost of his former business partner, Jacob Marley.

Context.

item The quote is said by the ghost of Jacob Marley, the former business partner of Ebenezer Scrooge, the main character of A Christmas Carol.

item Taken from the passage in Stave 1 (Marley’s Ghost) of A Christmas Carol:

“Again the spectre raised a cry, and shook its chain and wrung its shadowy hands.

“You are fettered,” said Scrooge, trembling. “Tell me why?”

I wear the chain I forged in life,” replied the Ghost. “I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it. Is its pattern strange to you?

Scrooge trembled more and more.

“Or would you know,” pursued the Ghost, “the weight and length of the strong coil you bear yourself? It was full as heavy and as long as this, seven Christmas Eves ago. You have laboured on it, since. It is a ponderous chain!”

Scrooge glanced about him on the floor, in the expectation of finding himself surrounded by some fifty or sixty fathoms of iron cable: but he could see nothing.

item As the ghost of Jacob Marley explains in the story, he built the chain during his life by focusing on gaining personal wealth and ignoring the needs of those whom he might have helped with his wealth. Now that he is dead the chains represent the burden of guilt that he must carry with him forever.

 

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