‘We must not look at goblin men’: Sensuous experience and religious vision in Christina Rossetti's "Goblin Market"
Christina Rossetti's, 'Goblin Market' is one of the most controversial poems of it's time. Although she insisted it was meant to be seen as a childrens fairytale, many readers have interpreted it as an erotic poem, many seeing it as a warning for young women against the temptations of sex. The poem has many hidden inuendos. For example the Goblin's describe the fruit in a sensual way, “Plump unpecked cherries” (line 7). Cherries are seen as a sign of virtue so this a clear example of a sexual situation. There is also a very strong religious theme in this poem. The fruit the goblin merchants are offering is a very clear symbol of Adam and Eve and the forbidden fruit. “Obviously the conscious or semi-conscious allegorial intention of this narrative poem is sexual/religious.” (Gilbert and Gubar, 566). This essay will discuss the theme of sensuous experience in terms of what makes this poem erotic, female sexuality and it also aims to discuss the religious symbolism in Rossetti's, 'Goblin Market'.
Rosetti challenges the traditional patriarchal perception of victorian womenin terms of sexuality and education. She recognises that the ideologies of her time were wrong and needed to be reslolved. She used the “Goblin Market” to challenge this and also as a warnign against men and tempting sexual situtations. Many women gave into these temptations and became 'fallen women'. Rossetti was showing young girls the consequences of falling out of line. The sexual references are the main cause for questioning the real intended audience for this poem. There are many strong symbols and innuendos throughout to support these ...
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...uggest that her innocence is completly destroyed. Jeanie showed much promise, she “should have been a bride” (line 313). Jeanie may have had a husband lined up and would have led the ideal Victorian life, but she fell victim to her own temptations. She indulged in the Goblin men's fruit and lost everything, she became ill and died, “But who for joys brides hope to have, Fell sick and died, In her gay prime” (line 314-316). Jeanie lost everything all because she gave into a tempting situtation, she lost everything and ultimately lost her life.
Brownley, Martine W. "Love and Sensuality in Christina Rossetti's Goblin Market" Essays in Literature 6 (1979): 179-86
Rossetti, Christina. "Goblin Market". The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volume E The Victorian Age. Ed. Julia Reidhead. 8th ed. Vol. E. New York: W. W. Norton, 2005. 1466-1478.
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