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The Goblin Market Analysis

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1847 words Published: 2nd May 2017

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Goblin market is a poem that revolve around two young ladies-Laura and Lizzie who struggle with everyday temptation and sins. With Laura falling into temptation of sin we see Lizzie saving her sister from dearth by placing her own life just like Jesus Christ did. In fact, the poem uses feminine approach to show Satan the biblical themes. According to Silvia Shurbutt on Rossetti’s “consciousness attempt to reverse traditional Christian myth in order to produce an alternative reading to the two fundamental stories in Christian love-the fall of human kind from grace and our redemption through the blood of Christ”. The only men who appear in the poem are goblin men who symbolize evil. Arsenean state the:

The importance of Rossetti’s faith for her life and heart can hardly overstated.

More than half of her poetic output is devotional and the work of her latter years

In both poetry and prose are almost exclusively saw

Lizzie and Laura eating the fruit is an action of committing sin from eating it from the Goblin men. Lizzie advised Laura that she should not accept the gift from goblin men even if the cries and offerings of goblin men are full in the surrounding. Lizzie asserts “No, no, no, / their offers should not charm us, / Their evil gift would harm us” (64-66). This gives the reader an idea that the fruits are evil. Despite advice from Laura, Lizzie go ahead and make the decision to get involved in other words her failure to withstand gift and offers was captivated by the seducing goblin men who slitter their way to her consciousness. Although people know the repacution of sin, they still engage in doing it because the fruit appear “Sweet to tong and sound to ears” (30)

As described by the speaker the voice of the goblen,”Voice like voice of doves”(77).this gives an impression to the reader that they are innocent and pure. They also describe the sound as ‘kind’ but with nothing to offer but love. She describes them as:

The whisk- tailed merchant bade her taste

The cat- faced purr’d

The rat-paced spoke a word

Of welcome.(Rossetti 107-111).

The ones who are described as kind and welcoming late are furious and angry. In line 266-268 she “Sat up in a passionate yearning, / And gnashed her teeth for baulked and wept,/ As if her heart would break”. Laura is un able to derive the pleasure anymore because she can not get access. Quickly she regrets to indulge in eating the fruit. On a daily basis the goblin men kept on tempting the maids to “Come buy orchard fruits”(3). Satan has determination to tempt human being to see his constrains. In fact the cunning of goblin men show the light to the reader the impression that Satan is sneaky.

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The result of eating fruit is sin and dearth. The author describe it as “Her tree of life dropped from the root”(260). This tree is related to the tree of life for Christians. Laura quickly start to age slowly and vanishing so rapidly” She no more swept the house”(293). On the same effect Jeanie also felt the same effect since she eat the same fruit. Lizzie is depicted as being wise. She refuses to be swayed by winds of temptation and not allow continuing eating the sweet fruits. She tells the goblin men:

If you will not sell me any

Of your fruit tho’ much and more

Give me bach my silver penny

I tossed you for a fee. (386-389)

She refuses to become a victim. When she realizes that her sister is diminishing slowly she decides to help her from agony and anguish. In fact she is described as virgin town. Lizzie is also describing as strong tower who has the power to restore what is evil. In fact she is Laura’s rock. Therefore the themes may be different. To the analysis of linguistic styles in this poem we are going to discuss the characters, the tone, themes developed by the author and the styles used.


The poetess portrays Laura and Lizzie as different maids. It makes the reader feels innocent for these little ones when they got tempted by the more mature and knowledgeable and iniquitous goblin men. The rhythm has been replicated in numerous lines for example:

Swart- headed mulberries line 11

Wild free- born cranberries line 12

Crab-apple, dewberries line 13

Pine- apple, blackberries line 14

Then the rhythm changes to AABB scheme.

Our grapes fresh from vine A

Pomegranate full and fine .A

Date and sharp bullaces .B

Rare pears and greengages B

This breaks the monotony and creates melodious tone which makes the poem interesting and musical. The rhythm scheme and meter lend to the ambiguity of the poem. The action is back and forth because Lizzie and Laura perhaps represent an acceptable whole although they are different people with different perspectives.

2. Language style

(A) Imagery and symbols

Animalistic Goblin men

The poetess describes the goblin like an animal.

One had a cat’s face line 71

One like a ratel hurry scurry line76

Ratel is an animal whose intentions are unpredictable just like the goblin attacked Lizzie demonstrate how factious they are. It is also used to distinctively differentiate between the two ladies.

11. Fire

It has been used in various ways to depict passion, life and lust. In line 27″Bright- fire – like barberries”. This could indicate the danger that is hidden in fruit by it is ripe appealing look and texture. In line 218″Most like a leaping flame” compares Lizzie who accompanied Laura whose passion is unhealthy and dangerous. “To swift decay and burnt, Her fire away” line 279-280. Extinguishes her fire means the distinguishing of her life.

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111. Lizzie as a Christ like figure.

In line 471 Lizzie tell her sister to “Eat me, drink me”. These are exact words Jesus Christ used during the last supper. In the sacrifice act to go and persuade the goblin for fruits to save her sister Lizzie is also a kind of Christ figure. Jesus gave his life for the ramson of many more especially the sinners. Moreover, Lizzie is described as redemption though metaphors and simile.

Like a lily in a flood

Generally Lilly is a plant that grows in water with beautiful leafs and nothing feeds on it. It is symbolically shows purity and innocence. Flood is destroyers but Lizzie is one that has been able to retain and withstand temptation even under pressure.

A rock of blue- veined stone

This relates Lizzie to rock to show her strength. The phrase “blue veined” suggest her intrinsic delicacy status as a child of God.

A fruit- crowned orange tree

Describe Lizzie’s goodness and the act she produces. Jesus is himself described as “tree of life” the word crowned means nobility and royalty.

1V. Barren seed

This simply represents fruitlessness that occurs with sin or lack of spiritual fruit.


This are both moral and vices that we acquire when reading any literature book. They are built around character used in the literature. For our case the following four major themes manifest themselves boldly. They include: danger of market place; sisterhood in community and abundant addiction and religion.

Abundant addiction

Laura’s unpleasant behavior is equivalent drug addiction. Usually Laura’s addiction is instantaneous. This can seen both for the love of fruits and the relationship for goblin men. Who are her facilitation from line three and four.”Come and buy our orchard, come buy, come buy” she feels to hear this call so frequently. Lizzie on the other hand is addicted for comprehension. Laura tell Lizzie,”We must not look at goblin men “line 42. Yet later in line 52″Laura reared he glossy head” Laura really long to understand the inexplicable demise of the foreign goblin fruit will convey. Laura get this comprehension and explain this information to her innocent sister Lizzie when she finally come home. In the end Laura’s knowledge is counterfeit because in the process she learn nothing but only transform to something else or being. Her addiction to physical, social, emotional and spiritual only result to her hair turning gray and infact everything that previously mattered to her became non interesting and for this reason she feels jealously envy for Lizzie just because Lizzie can hear the goblin cry yet she has been no capacity to do so.

Danger of market place

The poem opens with long list of ripe fruit. It is convincing and confusing. Many fruits are imported from different places which include lemon, orange and dates. This fruits have been novelty for Victoria readers and their inclusion in places reveal the awareness of rapid change in market place. Laura exchanges the fruit with her curl of hair. The goblin men compare this to the coins as they highlight it is precious nature. That is line 123 and 126. Hair was a massive cultural commodity among Victorians. In the poem hair has been used to show weapon, veil, web and noose.

Sisterhood in community.

According to history of the author she has volunteered in different places to support women who were carrying out of prostitution. The poem also focuses on two women working together. In line 185 Rossetti describe Laura and Lizzie as “Two pigeon in one nest” this is to show that no friendship like sisters. Although the goblin market exploit female sexually, they fight this vice.


Laura was weak where she accepts the offer from Lizzie but by that time the fruit was not sweet. She was seek. This reflects Christian belief that one can find true life by dying to self. Lizzie sacrifices and Laura did live and return to her old self which might mean old man be made new character Laura. She sacrificed and endured the pain for the one she loved she tell her sister “Take what is on me, drink it off, eat it” she could do anything to save her. This reflect the true story of Jesus Christ who gave her live to the sinners and endured pain for the sin of people. His love endures forever.


Rossetti seduces the reader with her sensual language like the serpent did to Eve in the Garden of Eden. The language she uses depicts the fruit in alluring to the sense of hearing. This can be shown how Laura surrenders”

Sweeter than honey from the rock.. line 129

Stronger than man rejoicing wine…line 130

Clearer than water flowed than juice line131

She never tested such before line132

The impact of moral lesson for children who are growing to steadfast in their behavior. For sure teenagers can learn from Laura’s mistakes.


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