Victorian Women In Goblin Market

1523 Words7 Pages
A New Type of Victorian Women In her poem “Goblin Market” Christina Rossetti offers a social critique of the rigid categories of women in the Victorian period; Rossetti’s poem draws upon the notion of “the angel in the house”- the ideal Victorian woman who is dedicated to her husband, submissive, and ‘pure’. To assert her critique, Rossetti incorporates the concept of “the fallen woman”- an impure woman who has “fallen” from her “angel” position resulting from sexual transgression. Concurrently, Rossetti employs biblical elements as examples of particular women’s transitions from one female ‘category’ to another; the use of biblical stories allows Rossetti to access a wider religious audience. Specifically, the two main characters in the “Goblin…show more content…
Later in the text, the poem also illustrates the transition from traditional Victorian to the new category of woman. In analyzing the distinct underlying message in Rossetti’s novel, Janet Casey presents her opinion through “The Potential of Sisterhood: Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Market,”suggesting that Rossetti demonstrates the equal capability of women in fulfilling male ‘roles’. Casey further clarifies her assertion by suggesting that the main characters, Laura, Lizzie--and ultimately everyone including men--may share the role of the redeemer and the redeemed. A close examination of the text supports Rossetti’s belief that the destiny of some figures in society is to be the redeemers of those who have fallen short, for whatever reason. In her critique of Rossetti’s “Goblin Market,” Casey argues that women and men have an equal ability to take on the role of the savior and the saved. Rossetti disproves this assertion, using religious symbolism through the characterization of Lizzie and Laura which allows for the establishment a third category of a woman in the Victorian period: “the redeemer” accompanying the traditional categories of “angel in the…show more content…
In the text, Lizzie holds the characteristic of a savior when she makes the ultimate sacrifice for Laura. She relaxes her extensive purity protection measures to save Laura, despite her succumbing to the temptation which she knew was wrong to indulge. Throughout the poem, it seems that Lizzie is symbolic of a Christ-like figure, the ultimate redeemer:he first evidence of Lizzie’s symbolism of Christ is her decision to make the tremendous sacrifice for Laura. Rossetti explains Lizzie’s decision-making process in which she decides to sacrifice for her sister. “Till Laura dwindling/ Seemed to knock at Death’s door: / Then Lizzie weighed no more/ Better and worse” (Rossetti 320-323). Although Lizzie acknowledged the extreme danger, she still decided to risk her of safety for that of another. Rossetti’s use of “death” to represent danger is symbolic of the ultimate sacrifice made by Jesus Christ in his crucifixion. In Lizzie’s opinion, the “danger” or crucifixion did not outweigh the possible result of saving Laura or absolving the sins of humanity. Lizzie’s Christ-like image develops further when she presents herself to Laura in a Christ-like fashion. She commands Laura to “Eat me [Lizzie], drink me, love me” (Rossetti 471). This Christ-like presentation is a kind
Open Document