Biblical Story in Goblin Market

Published: 2021-07-02 05:05:52
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Category: Goblin Market

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“And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter” (Revelation 10:10). Is it always that we are punished for searching knowledge or pleasures? In Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Market, the author uses clear parallels with the Biblical Fall and the Garden of Eden. Both stories depict the natural human desire to taste the unknown, but the philosophical and social implications in the Biblical Fall and in Goblin Market are completely different.

Thesis statement: the setting, the characters, and the plot in Rossetti’s Goblin Market are close to those in the Biblical account of Fall, but Rossetti’s poem offers a different vision of Bible and carries different philosophical implications for the reader. Goblin Market and the Garden of Eden The Biblical story of the Garden of Eden and Eve’s Fall is very similar to that described by Christina Rossetti in Goblin Market. The forbidden fruits in both stories are integrally linked to human sexuality.



Forbidden fruits represent a new (and forbidden) knowledge, although the forbidden fruits in Rossetti’s poem do not cause as serious consequences as those in the Biblical account of Fall. Desire and doubt – these are the key elements in Goblin Market and Bible. As Eve finds herself seduced by the external forces to taste the forbidden fruit, the setting in Rossetti’s story is very similar: “Morning and evening / Maids heard the goblins cry: / “Come buy our orchard fruits, / Come buy, come buy” (Rossetti 1-4).
Rossetti intentionally fills the setting with seducing elements and temptations. Goblins offering wonderful fruits to Laura and Lizzie make the two women think better about their earthy desires and the consequences of eating these fruits: “We must not look at goblin men, / We must not buy their fruits, / Who knows what soil they fed / Their hungry thirsty roots? ” (Rossetti 42-45). Eve’s feelings in the Garden of Eden were similar to those of Laura – the desire to taste new knowledge, and the doubt, whether a woman should do that.
Everything goes in a way similar to the Biblical account of Fall – seduction, hesitation, and the decisive step – until Laura eats the fruit. In many instances the similarity of the setting in Goblin Market and the Biblical Fall carries profound philosophical and social implications. However, such similarity is mostly deceptive, as Rossetti exploits a different interpretation of Biblical readings to deliver her own message to the reader. The first and the primary difference we face in the person of Lizzie.
On the one hand, Lizzie is very similar to a redemptive figure of Christ; on the other hand, Lizzie does not create the separation between her and Laura after Laura eats the fruit. Laura does not experience the sense of shame which Eve experiences in Bible. On the contrary, Laura expresses delightful emotions. Eve’s symbolic expulsion from the Garden of Eden is absent in Goblin Market, and tasting the fruit results in the growing spiritual closeness between Laura and Lizzie: “Golden head by golden head, / Like two pigeons in one nest / Folded in each other’s wing” (Rossetti 184-86).
As Bible opposes human nature to the divine spirit, Rossetti avoids this discord and tends to use the Biblical plot as the basis for a different spiritual interpretation. In the similar setting, and surrounded by similar temptations, Laura is different from Eve: she manages to keep her spiritual position, and the role of Christ undertaken by Lizzie does not lead to Laura’s redemption. Rossetti avoids creating a distinction between the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge. As we know, Bible tells the story of Adam and Eve as they eat the forbidden fruit and lose their access to the Tree of Life.
As soon as Laura tastes the fruit she immediately loses the access to this very fruit and does not have an opportunity to taste it again. Rossetti does not speak about the two different trees. The fruit of knowledge and the fruit of life in Bible represent the expression of and the division between the sin and the purity. Rossetti combines these two notions in one fruit which Laura tastes with the help of Goblins: “Must she them buy no more such dainty fruit? / Must she no more such succous pasture find, / Gone deaf and blind?
/ Her tree of life droop’d from the root” (Rossetti 257-60). Rossetti adapts the Biblical story to the given cultural and social environment. As Eve was weighing the sinfulness of eating the forbidden fruit, Laura rather weighs the profitability of her “eating” decision: “Buy from us with a golden curl. / She clipp’d a precious golden lock, / She dropp’d a tear more rare than pearl” (Rossetti 125-27). In this long process of hesitation, Goblins play the decisive role and lead Laura to step which will become critical to her further life.
Goblins are deceptive. They emphasize the importance of earthy desires which can easily replace the need for eternal spiritual rewards. The Book of Revelations reads: “I counsel thee to buy of me fold tried in the fires, that thou mayest be rich” (3:18). In the same manner, Goblins promote the benefits of corruptible earthy rewards, and Laura accepts their invitation. Certainly, one will ask, why the profitable offer to taste a fruit is corruptible for Laura, and the answer is very simple: the sweetest taste of a fruit does not last for long.
In the Garden of Eden, Eve’s pleasure does not last for long, too; she has to leave the garden with a sinful shame in her soul, and having forever lost the chance to return to the place in heaven. Conclusion Christina Rossetti adapts the Biblical account of Eve’s Fall to produce a completely different effect on the reader. Rossetti offers a different vision of Eve’s sin. Similar to Eve, Laura is seduced at eating the forbidden fruit, but in distinction from Eve, she is not compelled at leaving heaven, and does not experience the feeling of shame.
Lizzie is very similar to the redemptive figure of Christ, but the two women are not separated by the fact of eating the fruit. As a result, Rossetti avoids the discord between purity and sin, found in the Biblical writings, and puts the reader into the ambiguity of the sinful implications in Goblin Market. Works Cited Bible. King James Version. Camden, Thomas Nelson, 1992. Rossetti, C. “Goblin Market. ” 1862. Representative Poetry Online. 15 April 2008. http://rpo. library. utoronto. ca/poem/1753. html

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