Goblin Market Essay

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Christina Rossetti’s poem “Goblin Market” published in 1862 depicts sisters, Lizzie and Laura, as goblin men walk past selling their fruits. In the context of this essay, an allegory is meant to be interpreted as an alternative, figurative understanding of the text that lies underneath the literal meaning of the text. Some critics believe “Goblin Market” to be an allegorical attack on the Victorian woman and the society of Rossetti’s time. In this context, the Victorian woman is to be understood as the ideal woman under the societal norms of 19th century England where women were shackled to the domestic sphere and required to remain “pure”, ignorant of all sexuality. However, an alternative allegorical interpretation exists where the poem is understood as a representation of the Judeo-Christian Eden …show more content…
Rossetti uses this symbolism of male genitalia throughout the entirety of the poem in fact. A lewder example discussed in class appears when Rossetti writes, “She suck'd and suck'd and suck'd the more / Fruits which that unknown orchard bore / She suck'd until her lips were sore” (134-136). When interpreting fruit as a symbol of male genitalia, these few lines depict Laura taking part in an extremely obscene sexual act. The adventures of Laura within “Goblin Market” under this allegorical pretense harshly contrasts that of the ideal Victorian woman. Furthermore, Rossetti utilizes Lizzie as an example of the ideal Victorian woman in order to highlight this bold contrast. For example, Lizzie reflects the Victorian woman when Rossetti writes, “’Oh,’ cried Lizzie, ‘Laura, Laura / You should not peep at goblin men.’ / Lizzie cover'd up her eyes” (48-50). Under the pretense of the allegory, these lines depict Lizzie attempting to sway Laura from exploring her sexuality. In the Victorian time period, it was expected of women to

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