Poem Analysis: Goblin Market

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ENL 102 - VICTORIAN LITERATURE A textual analysis of Goblin Market, lines 394-446, from “One call'd her proud,“ to “Some vanish'd in the distance.“ About a century before the poem Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti was written, a political philosopher Edmund Burke is presumed to state that “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” This extract of the poem takes place shortly after Lizzie decides to overcome her fear and simultaneously break her own judgement and out of love for her sister tries to buy the forbidden fruit in order to save Laura’s life. She then shows incredibly strong willpower when she refuses to give in and eat the fruit herself despite everything the goblins put her through and at the…show more content…
It’s a description of fight between both sides full of symbols and strong visual images. Lizzie and her resistance are presented through many symbols that represent her purity, strong will and moral standards. Right in the beginning she is described as “White and golden”. Both white colour and gold are images often interpreted as symbols of goodness, innocence and most importantly purity. Gold is also mentioned in other parts of the poem – both sisters have golden hair, but Laura temporarily loses hers when they slowly turn gray after she pays for goblin fruit with one of her curls and loses her moral standards along with it. Goblins on the other hand are shown through variety of views of water, sea and the most aggressive forms of these forces – “a flood”, obstreperous “tides”, alliteration “hoary roaring sea” and “fleet”. Through these symbols Rossetti shows unfamiliarity of goblins and danger that they as an evil presents - the sea unlike the land has always been seen as dangerous, alien, unpredictable or even deadly - but also gives a perfect sense of Goblins’ fast, uncontrolled, variable and unpredictable attack on Lizzie. She is then being shown as “a lily in a flood,” which is very significant – the flower is sometimes considered a synonym for white or soft but also as a symbol of earlier mentioned purity, it can be seen as image of perfection, and an ideal which Lizzie in many ways is. Her strength and willpower is highlighted when she is mention as “a rock of blue-vein'd stone/ Lash'd by tides obstreperously”. Very contrasting to interpretation of Goblins’ as a water is “a beacon left alone” that is “Sending up a golden fire,”. It presents Lizzie as a symbol of hope that shows the right way in the darkness and underlines her sense of rightness. Overall this stanza shows strength of Lizzie’s will, a sense of moral
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