"Marley was dead to begin with." The first words of a Charles Dickens' classic A Christmas Carol.
All I can say to that, "Damn! Sucks for Marley!"
Here is one of the greatest literary artists writing one of the most recognizable Christmas stories of all time, and Marley gets killed in the first sentence. No build up, no enemies, no murder, no intrigue, no chance...just "Marley was dead to begin with." You have to feel for Marley don't you? He didn't get the chance Scrooge got. It was almost as if he had to lead the dark path before Ebeneezer just so Ebeneezer would have a fighting chance. Like Judas and Jesus, Judas had to betray Jesus for salvation to work; Judas helped put God's plan into action, but I'm confident he suffered in the end...I dunno, maybe that's how it goes sometimes.
I wonder what would have happened if Marley were visited by three ghosts. We probably would have never known of a man named Ebeneezer Scrooge and we would never have heard those famous words "Bah, humbug!" and Christmas would never have had a more than perfect way to be explained than, "Bah Humbug!"
I think Marley was the greatest character in this story. Think about it, of all the people to have reason to be bitter, who had the most? Scrooge? No he had his money. Bob Cratchet? No he had his good cheer and family. Tiny Tim? No he had the greatest quotable line in the story ("God bless us, everyone!") Fizzywig? Nope, he had a pretty awesome name if you ask me. What did Marley have? "Marley was dead to begin with." Marley had a date with death, chains and suffering. In spite of all of that, in spite of being screwed over by one of the worlds greatest literary minds, Marley still cares for Scrooge's out come in life. He warns Scrooge and sets in motion the eve in which Scrooge would become the most celebrated Christmas success story of all time! And what do we hear of Marley? Not much...does he get his burdens lifted for his kind gesture? Probably not. Why? Because, "Marley was dead to begin with!" It was over from the get go for Marley. And that, my friends, is a true tragedy.