Goblin Market

by

Christina Rossetti

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Lizzie Character Analysis

Lizzie is Laura’s sister, whose steadfast sense of morality and devotion ultimately saves Laura from the goblin men’s clutches. Initially Lizzie appears to be a less important character than Laura, whose curiosity brings about her symbolic “fall.” However, Lizzie’s character undergoes the most significant transformation in the story. At the poem’s opening, Lizzie’s defining characteristic is her caution, in contrast to Laura’s curiosity. Lizzie is fearful of the goblin men and urges Laura not to look at them or to eat their fruit. In fact, Lizzie is so determined to avoid the goblin men, and the sexual danger they represent, that she abandons Laura to them, leaving her sister to fend for herself. Later, however, Lizzie becomes almost Christlike when she risks her own safety and chastity by confronting the goblin men for the sake of her sister. The goblin men pose an implied sexual threat, and Lizzie withstands their assault—which, though not explicitly sexual in nature, is a symbolic affront to her innocence and purity— in order to bring back fruit juice and pulp to save Laura. Lizzie untainted by her encounter with the goblin men, and even seems to paraphrase Christ’s words to his disciples by instructing Laura to “Eat me, drink me, love me.” Lizzie, like Laura, also achieves the ideal outcome for women in Victorian literature, which is marriage and motherhood. Lizzie also notably shares many characteristics in common with an important mid-Victorian cultural figure: the “Angel in the House.” This figure comes from Coventry Patmore’s 1854 poem of the same name, and refers to a woman who is moral, chaste, innocent, and committed to securing her family’s domestic comfort.

Lizzie Quotes in Goblin Market

The Goblin Market quotes below are all either spoken by Lizzie or refer to Lizzie. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Temptation and Fallen Women Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of Goblin Market published in 2005.
Goblin Market Quotes

Morning and evening
Maids heard the goblins cry:
“Come buy our orchard fruits,
Come buy, come buy:
[…]
Plump unpecked cherries,
Melons and raspberries,
Bloom-down-cheeked peaches,
Swart-headed mulberries,
Wild free-born cranberries,
[…]
All ripe together
In summer weather,—
Morns that pass by,
Fair eves that fly;
Come buy, come buy:
Our grapes fresh from the vine,
Pomegranates full and fine,
Dates and sharp bullaces,
Rare pears and greengages,
Damsons and bilberries,
Taste them and try:
Currants and gooseberries,
Bright-fire-like barberries,
Figs to fill your mouth,
Citrons from the South,
Sweet to tongue and sound to eye;
Come buy, come buy.”

Related Characters: The Goblin Men (speaker), Laura, Lizzie
Related Symbols: The Goblin Men’s Fruit
Page Number: 5-6
Explanation and Analysis:

Crouching close together
In the cooling weather,
With clasping arms and cautioning lips,
With tingling cheeks and finger tips.
“Lie close,” Laura said,
Pricking up her golden head:
“We must not look at goblin men,
We must not buy their fruits:
Who knows upon what soil they fed
Their hungry thirsty roots?”

Related Characters: Laura (speaker), Lizzie, The Goblin Men
Related Symbols: The Goblin Men’s Fruit, Hair
Page Number: 6
Explanation and Analysis:

“Do you not remember Jeanie,
How she met them in the moonlight,
Took their gifts both choice and many,
Ate their fruits and wore their flowers
Plucked from bowers
Where summer ripens at all hours?
But ever in the noonlight
She pined and pined away;
Sought them by night and day,
Found them no more but dwindled and grew grey;
Then fell with the first snow,
While to this day no grass will grow
Where she lies low:
I planted daisies there a year ago
That never blow.”

Related Characters: Lizzie (speaker), Laura, The Goblin Men, Jeanie
Related Symbols: The Goblin Men’s Fruit, Hair
Page Number: 9
Explanation and Analysis:

Golden head by golden head,
Like two pigeons in one nest
Folded in each other’s wings,
They lay down in their curtained bed:
Like two blossoms on one stem,
Like two flakes of new-fall’n snow,
Like two wands of ivory
Tipped with gold for awful kings.

Related Characters: Laura, Lizzie
Related Symbols: Hair
Page Number: 10
Explanation and Analysis:

One called her proud,
Cross-grained, uncivil;
Their tones waxed loud,
Their looks were evil.
Lashing their tails
They trod and hustled her,
Elbowed and jostled her,
Clawed with their nails,
Barking, mewing, hissing, mocking,
Tore her gown and soiled her stocking,
Twitched her hair out by the roots,
Stamped upon her tender feet,
Held her hands and squeezed their fruits
Against her mouth to make her eat.

Related Characters: Lizzie, The Goblin Men
Related Symbols: The Goblin Men’s Fruit, Hair
Page Number: 15
Explanation and Analysis:

White and golden Lizzie stood,
Like a lily in a flood,—
Like a rock of blue-veined stone
Lashed by tides obstreperously,—
Like a beacon left alone
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 gilded dome and spire
Close beleaguered by a fleet
Mad to tug her standard down.

Related Characters: Lizzie, The Goblin Men
Related Symbols: The Goblin Men’s Fruit, Hair
Page Number: 16
Explanation and Analysis:

She cried “Laura,” up the garden,
“Did you miss me?
Come and kiss me.
Never mind my bruises,
Hug me, kiss me, suck my juices
Squeezed from goblin fruits for you,
Goblin pulp and goblin dew.
Eat me, drink me, love me;
Laura, make much of me:
For your sake I have braved the glen
And had to do with goblin merchant men.”

Related Characters: Lizzie (speaker), Laura, The Goblin Men
Related Symbols: The Goblin Men’s Fruit
Page Number: 17
Explanation and Analysis:

“For there is no friend like a sister
In calm or stormy weather;
To cheer one on the tedious way,
To fetch one if one goes astray,
To lift one if one totters down,
To strengthen whilst one stands.”

Related Characters: Laura (speaker), Lizzie
Related Symbols: The Goblin Men’s Fruit
Page Number: 20
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Goblin Market LitChart as a printable PDF.
Goblin Market PDF

Lizzie Character Timeline in Goblin Market

The timeline below shows where the character Lizzie appears in Goblin Market. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Goblin Market
Temptation and Fallen Women Theme Icon
Women’s Role in Society Theme Icon
One evening, two young sisters, Laura and Lizzie, hear the goblins’ call as they are collecting water from a brook. Laura bows her... (full context)
Temptation and Fallen Women Theme Icon
Women’s Role in Society Theme Icon
Lizzie cries out, warning her sister not to “peep” and covering her own eyes “lest they... (full context)
Temptation and Fallen Women Theme Icon
Women’s Role in Society Theme Icon
Lizzie, however, refuses to look. She again warns her sister that they should not allow themselves... (full context)
Temptation and Fallen Women Theme Icon
...whether it is night or day, Laura makes her way home alone. When she arrives, Lizzie is waiting for her at the garden gate, and proceeds to scold her with “wise... (full context)
Temptation and Fallen Women Theme Icon
Women’s Role in Society Theme Icon
Lizzie again warns Laura of the dangers of loitering in the glen at midnight because it... (full context)
Temptation and Fallen Women Theme Icon
...order to purchase more. Laura tries to reassure her sister of the fruit’s goodness. Kissing Lizzie, she describes with rapture the delicious and varied fruit she sampled: plums, cherries, figs, melons,... (full context)
Temptation and Fallen Women Theme Icon
Women’s Role in Society Theme Icon
The following morning, Laura and Lizzie awaken to the sound of a cock crowing. Immediately, they begin their usual chores: fetching... (full context)
Temptation and Fallen Women Theme Icon
Women’s Role in Society Theme Icon
Finally, evening arrives and Laura and Lizzie set out with their pitchers to draw water from the brook. While Lizzie is calm... (full context)
Temptation and Fallen Women Theme Icon
Women’s Role in Society Theme Icon
...come away, loitering among the rushes in hope that the goblins will return. She tells Lizzie that it is still early and the dew has not yet fallen. Although she listens... (full context)
Temptation and Fallen Women Theme Icon
Women’s Role in Society Theme Icon
Salvation and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Lizzie, full of tenderness for her sister, can no longer bear to see Laura suffering. Unlike... (full context)
Temptation and Fallen Women Theme Icon
Salvation and Sacrifice Theme Icon
The goblins laugh to find Lizzie looking for them. They hobble, run, and fly toward her, noisy and grimacing. They hug,... (full context)
Temptation and Fallen Women Theme Icon
Women’s Role in Society Theme Icon
Salvation and Sacrifice Theme Icon
The goblins try to persuade Lizzie to sit and eat with them, protesting that their feast has just started and reassuring... (full context)
Temptation and Fallen Women Theme Icon
Salvation and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Lizzie resists their attack, like “a beacon left alone/ In a hoary roaring sea,/ Sending up... (full context)
Temptation and Fallen Women Theme Icon
Women’s Role in Society Theme Icon
Salvation and Sacrifice Theme Icon
With an aching body and in a mental daze, Lizzie runs home. She is no longer afraid of the goblins but pleased to have escaped... (full context)
Temptation and Fallen Women Theme Icon
Salvation and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Laura leaps up from her chair and pulls at her hair. She fearfully asks Lizzie if she has eaten the goblins’ fruit and wonders whether her sister will begin to... (full context)
Salvation and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Clinging to her sister, Laura begins to kiss Lizzie. With that kiss, tears return to refresh Laura’s once-dry and shrunken eyes. Shaking with pain,... (full context)
Salvation and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Throughout the night, Lizzie keeps watch over Laura. She takes on the role of a nurse, counting Laura’s pulse... (full context)
Temptation and Fallen Women Theme Icon
Women’s Role in Society Theme Icon
Salvation and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Years pass, during which Laura and Lizzie have become wives and mothers, and they worry about the safety of their children. Laura... (full context)