What Is The Theme Of Goblin Market By Christina Rossetti

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The analysis of Christina Rossetti’s skilful construction, timeless content, and sophisticated use of language in her poetry provides insight into why her poems are both engaging and highly valued.
Rossetti’s works are highly acclaimed by many modern critics as innovative for her time, due to her commentary on Victorian society and her lyrical gift. She explores many thematic concerns that maintain relevancy in present-day society, including the corrupting influences of the world; the inconstancy of romantic love; and the exploitation and objectification of women by men.
By analysing the construction, content and language of Rossetti’s poetry, it unveils why she continues to be highly regarded by critics today and deepens one’s understanding
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Many of her poems effectively examine the attractiveness of corrupting influences in the world and the adverse consequences in partaking in them.
Rossetti’s most famous poem ‘Goblin Market’ is an allegorical tale of the power of sisterhood aimed at children, however the language and others’ interpretations suggests deeper themes exists, including those of sexuality and religious redemption.
The “goblin men” early in the poem are shown as “like voices of doves/Cooing all together,” with the animalistic imagery and similes symbolising the false façade of peace they present to the vulnerable Laura with “golden lock[s].” The cumulative listing of exotic fruit like “apples and quinces” symbolises the variety of temptations that exist in the world.
Laura’s desires and the goblin men’s repeated chants to “come buy” leads her to eating their seductive fruit, an allusion to the Forbidden Fruit from Christian mythology. The rich gustatory language used to describe how the fruit was “sweeter” and “stronger” than anything Laura has ever had can be interpreted as a metaphor for her fulfilment of her sexual
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Maude Clare is another ballad by Rossetti that successfully presents a tale of unrequited love from a female perspective. Similarly, to ‘Light Love’, the male speaker is unfaithful to his lover and marries another woman. Maude disrupts Thomas and Nell’s wedding day with a “gift” for each person, designed to taunt their relationship which she views with contempt. To Thomas, Maude gives back her “half of the golden chain” and “faded leaves,” both symbolic relics of their past intimacy together which has since withered and ended. Thomas’ nervousness is accentuated in the use of caesurae in his dialogue whilst trying to “match [Maude’s] scorn with scorn,” highlighting his inability to respond to her. This is further evident in his final mention in ‘Maude Clare’ where he “hid[es] his face,” most likely in guilt and humiliation for raising Maude’s hopes of marriage before marrying Nell and ruining Maude’s future

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