Who is Fezziwig?

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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
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  • Last Modified Date: 27 August 2016
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Old Fezziwig is one of the enduring characters in the classic novella by Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol. He is a former employer of Ebenezer Scrooge, who in many ways represents all that Scrooge is not. The reader meets him when Scrooge is forced to look at his past recollections of Christmas by the Ghost of Christmas Past.

The scene including Scrooge’s employer is often referred to as Fezziwig’s Ball, and it is one of the liveliest and loveliest scenes in A Christmas Carol. Scrooge’s master is of a jolly and jovial temperament, and though a good man of business, he’s also deeply interested in the happiness of his employees, and of the people in the businesses located near him. As an employer he clearly inspires the respect of Scrooge and his fellow apprentice Dick Wilkins, who both quickly obey his order to make ready for the Christmas Ball Fezziwig has planned as a treat to the apprentices, himself, his family, and the neighbors.


The scene clearly is meant to contrast Scrooge’s miserly and evil treatment toward his clerk, Bob Cratchit, especially regarding Christmas. It is also the first time one of Scrooge’s recollections has him enjoying all the attendant fun of the season. He is moved and lively, as Dickens writes: “he remembered everything, enjoyed everything and underwent the strangest agitation.” The moment is clearly a one that signals the beginning of emotional transformation in Scrooge and a willingness to learn to be a better man. Scrooge willingly admits of the master/clerk relationship that Fezziwig has the power to make an employee happy or unhappy, and to determine whether work will be very difficult or easy, by choosing to be kind.

Perhaps one of the most delightful moments in Fezziwig’s Ball is the description of Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig dancing. Dickens writes of his calves shining like moons, and him dancing quite deftly for a man of his generous size. A description of one part of the dance may puzzle the modern reader, when Dickens writes how Fezziwig “cut.” This is actually a leap into the air with a quick switch in position of the legs, and certainly does suggest that Scrooge’s former master knew his business on the dance floor, in addition to being a wonderful employer.

The happiness in this exuberant celebration is attributed all to the kind and benevolent master, and a reference to him is sure to evoke a pleasant feeling in those who love Dickens’ novella. In recent years, the Boston Beer Company, which produces Samuel Adams® brands, has produced a seasonal beer called Old Fezziwig Ale, which is lightly spiced and has been highly praised as the perfect ale with which to celebrate.


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Discuss this Article

Post 8

Old Fezziwig is one of my favorite characters. He's in all the versions of a Christmas Carol. I wish he was my boss. I actually declared a holiday in his honor. I call it "Old Fezziwig Day". It's the day when you do your last work before Christmas.

This year, Old Fezziwig day falls on Friday, Dec 21. Like Old Fezzwig says, time to put the work away and have some cold ones. It's basically the beginning of the eating, drinking, and partying part of the holidays.

Post 5

I'm pretty sure Fezziwig has been in all the versions, even appearing silently in Mickey's Christmas Carol as Mr. Toad, and Fozziwig in the Muppets' version.

What I'd like to know is: when was Old Fezziwig in business? All I seem to be able to ascertain is the book opens in 1843, seven years after Jacob Marley's death (1836).

Post 4

I'm pretty sure Fezziwig has been in all the versions. Even appearing silently in Mickey's Christmas Carol as Mr. Toad, and Fozziwig in the Muppets' version.

What I'd like to know is: when was Old Fezziwig in business? All I seem to be able to ascertain is the book opens in 1843, seven years after Jacob Marley's death (1836).

Ha ha. Oy.

Post 3

It sounds like Fezziwig played a pretty big role in the story. He was the boss that Scrooge should have been, and eventually became.

I wonder why Scrooge didn't learn to be like him in the first place, simply by having been employed by Fezziwig. Although I suppose if he had, we wouldn't have had this wonderful story to enjoy!

Post 2

I've never actually read "The Christmas Carol," but I have seen several of the movie adaptions. The thing is, I don't remember Fezziwig from "A Christmas Carol" at all! Was this scene in the movies? Perhaps it was, and they just didn't refer to Fezziwig by name. Or maybe I just wasn't paying enough attention! I'll be sure to watch out for that scene the next time I watch the movie.

Post 1

Who is fizziwig in stave 1, and what relationship do scrooge and him have.

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