What a privilege to play this Character. This character is so opposite from Mr. Fezziwig, who represents life and hope, as opposed to Marley’s death and remorse. Jacob Marley is Scrooge's deceased business partner, now a chained and tormented ghost, damned to wander the earth forevermore as punishment for his greedy, selfish and uncaring attitude towards mankind. Marley roams restlessly, witnessing the hardships others suffer and lamenting that he has lost his chance to help them forever. Through unknown means, it is Marley who arranges for the three spirits to visit Scrooge and gives him his opportunity for redemption, which Marley tells him, was "...a chance and hope of my procuring." In life, Jacob Marley was the business partner of Ebenezer Scrooge. As teenagers, both of them had been apprenticed in business and met as clerks in another business. The firm of Scrooge and Marley was a nineteenth-century financial institution; a counting house according to Marley, and he refers to their offices as "our money-changing hole". They became successful yet hard-hearted bankers, with seats on the London Stock Exchange. In spite of this, Scrooge showed little to no remorse of Marley's death. He was named after Marley Tunnel in Devon, just outside Totness because of Dickens' fond holiday memories of the town.
In A Christmas Carol, Marley is the first character mentioned in the first line of the story. Jacob Marley is said to have died seven years earlier on Christmas Eve (as the setting is Christmas Eve 1843, this would have made the date of his passing December 24, 1836). It would be his ghost who would be Scrooge's first visitor (before the three other spirits to come). Scrooge is described as Marley's "sole friend" and "sole mourner", and praises Marley as being a good friend to him.
The ghost maintains the same voice, hairstyle and sense of dress that he had in life, but is translucent. "He is captive, bound and double-ironed" with chains which are described as "long and wound about him like a tail; it was made... of cash-boxes, keys, padlocks, and heavy purses, wrought in steel." He often, in moments of great despair or impatience at Scrooge's skepticism, flings these upon the ground before him and almost induces his former partner "into a swoon". He explains that it is the chain he unknowingly forged himself in life, as a result of his greed and selfishness. As he spent his life on this earth obsessing over money and mistreating the poor and wretched to fill his pocket, Marley is condemned to walk the earth for eternity never to find rest or peace, experiencing an "incessant torture of remorse", lamenting that Christmas is the time he suffers most of all.
He comes to warn Scrooge that he too is in danger of suffering the same fate as him. Thus, Marley was given a chance to save his only friend's life before it was too late.