The poem, “Goblin Market” by Christina Rossetti, was originally intended to be a fairytale to teach children the simple cliché: “Don’t trust strangers.” Nevertheless, whether intended or not, the convoluted manner in which Rossetti crafts this poem, demonstrates that there are deeper meanings to this poem. The poem is no longer regarded as just a children’s fable, but instead is viewed as social commentary in which Rossetti is commenting about the world around her. The poem can be understood more deeply when it is interpreted through
Marxist criticism. Marxist criticism, utilizes beliefs and ideas generated from Karl Marx. It involves analyzing the social structure, such as race, class and culture, and the distribution of wealth and power in a society. Utilizing Marxism criticism, we can further delve under the poem’s deceivingly innocent and childlike facade and better understand the socioeconomic relationships and social injustices that took place during this time period, the Victorian era.
Through the use of Marxist criticism, the “Goblin Market” by Christina Rossetti becomes a social commentary that explores the issues of capitalism and seeks to debunk social injustices.
Marxism states that the power in society lies with the people who have more money or goods and that the class struggle can only be ended by a revolution of the proletariat, the laboring class. In “Goblin Market” Rossetti shows the class stratification between the two sisters and the goblin men, the latter being more powerful and controlling in the society. This class status is maintained till the end of the poem when Lizzie, a member of the proletariat, fights back and there is a revolution to usurp the power of the bourgeoisie. “Give me back my silver penny/ I tossed you for a fee.”−/ They began to scratch their pates,/ No longer wagging, purring,/ But visibly demurring”; Lizzie uses her money to buy the fruit and take back the power of the