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Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Market Essay

975 words - 4 pages

There are several meanings and interpretations of Christina Rossetti’s, “Goblin Market”. “Goblin Market” is the story of two sisters, which one of them, Laura, is tempted to visit the new goblin market in town. Laura buys the fruit from the goblin men in exchange for a lock of her hair, despite the several warnings from her sister Lizzie not to consume the fruit. Laura gets sick and Lizzie saves her by going to the market. After the goblins taunt, tease and torment her with the tempting fruit, the fruit’s juices smudged in her face, she runs back home letting her sister kiss and suck them from her cheeks. Tasting the juices for a second time was what saved Laura. “Opening with the sensuous advertisement of exotic fruits hawked by goblin men to innocent young women, Rossetti’s poem presents an explicitly articulated image of a marketplace in which female ‘appetite’ is at stake” (Carpenter 415). This essay will analyze the two different interpretations of “Goblin Market”, there is arguable Christian symbolism and an erotic symbolism present.
“Goblin Market” was interpreted as a poem that contained symbolism from the Bible and Christianity, unlike in the modern era; it is interpreted as an erotic poem. “Temptation in ‘Goblin Market’ is symbolized great traditional symbol of sin and temptation in the Bible. Clearly the fruit sold by the goblin merchants…are the forbidden fruit of Scripture. They belong to the order of fruit which tempted Eve” (Packer 376). Packer described one of the most famous and common Biblical themes. In “Goblin Market”, Eve is presented as Laura, the forbidden apple is presented as the fruit sold by the goblin men, and the snake that lead Eve to temptation is presented as the goblin men. There are many aspects of Christianity but one of the most important ones is chastity, the act of keeping yourself away from temptation. “Goblin Market” portrayed how Laura is seriously tempted just to gain self-pleasure. “In Christina’s poem Laura even asks Lizzie if she has tasted ‘For my sake the fruit forbidden?’” (Packer 376). Unlike Lizzie, who decided to remain away and “pure” from all temptations.
Another strong Christian portrayal is Lizzie’s words, “’Eat me, drink me, love me; / Laura, make much of me,’” (471-472). Lizzie is represented as Christ, sacrificing herself to save her sister Laura from her sin. There is a reference to the words of Christ at the Last Supper, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me. This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me” (New International Version, 1 Cor. 11:23-25). Christ sacrificed himself for the sins of man and Lizzie, who is good and pure, sacrificed herself for the sins of her sister Laura.
Another interpretation of Rossetti’s “Goblin Market” is with erotic connotations. Rossetti describes several sensual body parts such as cheeks, lips and breasts. Also, Rossetti’s word choice such as hugging, kissing and...

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