Christina Rossetti: Poems

critically examine the ideological differences in the two sisters.

goblin market

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In the Christian interpretation, Laura represents Eve, the goblin men are the equivalent of Satan, their fruit is the temptation to sin, and Lizzie is the Christ figure. Laura sins by going against the interdiction that she must not eat the goblins’ fruit, which is an homage to Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit in the Book of Genesis. The long list of the goblins' fruit represents the wide variety of temptations that humans face during their lifetimes. Like Adam and Eve, Laura discovers that the fruit does not bring fulfillment, but rather, death and destruction.

Meanwhile, Lizzie suffers the consequences of Laura’s sin in order to rescue her sister from the punishment of death, just like Christ. The red fruit juice that Lizzie tries to get Laura to drink is like the blood of Christ in the Eucharist. Rossetti describes Lizzie as a pure “lily in a flood," and that is why she is the only person who is able to save Laura’s life. The sacrifice Lizzie makes for her sister comes out of pure love and true friendship. Please check out the GradeSaver analysis section for more on this.