Goblin Market by Christina Rosetti: Poem Analysis

The plot of the poem Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti follows the story of two sisters, Laura and Lizzie, who overhear the sounds of a goblin market. The poem relies on powerful imagery to highlight the journey of two women and their experiences and has an unusually long structure containing twenty-eight stanzas. In this poem, the author explores several topics, but the themes of addiction and sacrifice are the most important ones since they highlight the main characters’ personalities.

Addiction is the central subject of the poem, and Rosetti managed to develop a narrative that shows all the vicissitudes linked to any form of it. She masterfully shows the symptoms of withdrawal using a simile, “Her hair grew thin and gray; She dwindled, as the fair full moon doth turn to swift decay.” Laura is an example of a person who becomes dependent on their source of addiction, a problem that is relevant to any society, and which eventually eradicates people’s lust for life.

The second theme that is vital for the plot of the story is Lizzie’s decision to save her sister; thus, Rosetti depicts the ability to sacrifice oneself for others. Lizzie is selfless in her dedication and tolerates goblins’ abuse, “they trod and hustled her, elbowed and jostled her, clawed with their nails.” The author metaphorically portrays the noble quality of being altruistic and ready to give up one’s life for friends and family.

Goblin Market contains many themes worthy of analysis, but there are two that are crucial for the narrative and which the main characters most notably demonstrate. Laura is shown as a person who struggles with the problem of addiction that always remains topical during every historical period. Lizzie’s character embodies the rare human quality of willingness to sacrifice oneself for the sake of others. The author’s ability to thoroughly explore the psychological details of people’s behavior is the reason why Christina Rossetti’s works are still popular today.

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