Study Guide

Goblin Market Sin

By Christina Rossetti


"No," said Lizzie: "No, no, no;
Their offers should not charm us,
Their evil gifts would harm us." (64-66)

Lizzie seems to realize that the goblins' fruits are a temptation to be avoided. Her repeated refusal, "No, no, no," suggests that she does, however, feel the temptation. We get the sense that all maidens who encounter the fruit are tempted.

She thrust a dimpled finger
In each ear, shut eyes and ran (67-68)

Seeing and hearing the goblin men could make Lizzie give in to temptation, so she shuts her eyes and ears and runs away. She doesn't trust herself, so she removes herself from the tempting situation. Running with her eyes shut doesn't seem like the best idea, but her intentions are good.

"To take were to purloin" (117)

Laura is about to commit a sin by eating the goblin fruit, but she hasn't thrown all of her scruples to the wind. She doesn't want to "purloin," or steal the fruit, she wants to buy it fair and square. This tells us that she has a moral compass intact.

"Dear, you should not stay so late,
Twilight is not good for maidens;" (143-144)

Lizzie tries to remind Laura why they shouldn't stay out late – the goblins will tempt them. Specifically, though, staying out late isn't good for girls. Apparently eating the goblin fruit is only dangerous for "maidens."

"Lizzie, Lizzie, have you tasted
For my sake the fruit forbidden?" (478-479)

In these lines, Laura actually calls the goblin fruit "forbidden." It's the closest Rossetti ever comes to comparing the goblin fruit to the "forbidden fruit" in the Garden of Eden.