In Victorian poetry and art women are portrayed as being less than men, with little or no freedom. They have a much lower status, and are looked upon in very derogatory ways. This century poetry and art express the importance of the male gaze. Women in poetry are mostly unaware of their audience, if they are aware, they are seen as being easy and loose. In Victorian times women were objectified in both poetry and art. However, in ‘Goblin Market’ it seems Christina Rossetti approaches stereotypes based on women differently, clearly contradicting and challenging stereotypes of women. This is similar to her poem ‘A birthday’ where rather than be quite and oppressed, she wants to celebrate and show the world her love. In comparison ‘My Last Duchess’ written by Robert browning, shows women in the more typical Victorian eye. The woman in this is seen as nothing more of, but a story and a painting. She is repressed.
In ‘Goblin Market’ there is two women; at the start of the poem they appear to be naïve, however later on we see a dramatic change in these characters. The first description we see of the poems main characters is ‘maids’. This word symbolises just how innocent and naïve women were. They are pure and virgin; this is a typical representation of women in Victorian art and poetry. Later on in the poem we meet the characters being described.
‘Laura bow’d her head to hear, Lizzie veil’d her blushes:’
From this description we can see clear differences between the two characters. Laura seems more mature and more confident, yet is still curious. Whereas Lizzie seems shy and embarrassed. Lizzie’s character fits in more with the Victorian depiction of women. At the sight of the goblin men she blushes, although trying to cover it, this blushing may not be embarrassment but lust. A little further into the poem... [continues]
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