In "Goblin Market," two sisters are confronted with the temptation of fruit from the Goblins. Obviously, the fruit seems to illustrate the dualities of all temptations, contrasting immediate, sensual gratification with the more long-term consequences such as those suffered by Laura. The two sisters also seem to represent a contrast between resistance and indulgence, or perhaps even strength and weakness toward the evils of the Goblins. However, Lizzie's "strength" itself seems full of various tensions and dualities, as illustrated by the passage wherein she "stands firm" amidst a sea of Goblins and their fruit.
White and golden Lizzie stood,
Like a lily in a flood, —
Like a rock of blue-veined stone
Lashed by tides obstreperously, —
In a hoary roaring sea,
Sending up a golden fire, —
Like a fruit crowned orange-tree
White with blossoms honey-sweet
Sore beset by wasp and bee, —
Like a royal virgin town
Topped with guilded dome and spire
Close beleaguered by a fleet
Mad to tug her standard down. (408-422)
1. Does Rossetti's description of Lizzie, as a "lily in a flood . . . white with blossoms honey-sweet," undermine her agency despite her power to resist forces of "evil?"
2. Is Laura's character as complex as Lizzie's, which seems to straddle "blue-veined stone" and "honey-sweet" blossoms?
Last modified 28 April 2003