Christina Rossetti: Carrying the Important Messages for Women Amidst Opression

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Poetry is an extensive and worldwide tool for human expression. Forms of poetry were even used in ancient civilization, which is a testament to its perpetuality. Christina Rossetti, an English poet who became acknowledged in the mid-18th century was excellent at conveying the depth and complexities of her romantic poems. Having grown up in an extremely male dominating society as London was in that time, it was extraordinary that she had the ability to flourish and become a successful poet. Her ability to make use of little visual detail to essentially free her ideas and let them speak for themselves, differentiates herself from other poets. Soon her writings and notorious political/social belief dubbed her as the most iconic female poet of her time. Having grown up in an artistic family with prominent Italian writers work filling the household, showed to have a deep impact on Rossetti’s later work.

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Having grown up in London Rossetti was often exposed to male domination in an unethical society, where women’s careers were predetermined. However, Rossetti wasn’t phased by this but rather let it be a driving motive for her to succeed. Rossetti’s poem In an artist’s studio outlines how men actively objectify women, through the scope of the male gaze. The artist is depicted as a demon or parasite that “feeds upon her face by night”, alluding to the female model being just a mere passive object. Rossetti would have been heavily exposed to this as a young woman.

The artist feeding upon her illuminates how dependant and fixated the artist is from only a simple portrait. Her profound use of imagery literally paints the picture as to how women were perceived and assessed in her era, and how perhaps women were judged purely on their facial characteristics. As the poem progresses we see the artist interpret the model in an abundance y of ways, “a queen in opal or in ruby dress, a nameless girl in freshet summer greens, all the same” Rossetti’s use of comparison alludes to the fact that it was irrelevant how you presented yourself but rather how you looked regardless of what your choice of clothing was. Her ability to spread such a worthy message of female inequality through deep imagery displays how well worked clever her writings really are. Rossetti was notorious for the subtle incorporation of women inequality. Her ability to conversate about such a prevalent issue in our modern society today and speak on it over 200 years ago when no other women felt as though they could voice their opinion justifies her position in the anthology.

Rossetti was in a battle with her oppressors, and her deep thought mirrored the values of what the suffragette movement did. Her revolutionary poem Goblin Market encapsulated the essence of how onerous it really was being a women in her time. It outlines the devious and sexual fiends attempting to seduce the women through the selling of fruit. “ Our grapes fresh from the vine, rare pears and greengages”. Most of are these fruits are exotic and rare, in my opinion this is deliberate as it helps to tempt out these vulnerable women. These exotic fruits would not have been easily accessible and readily available at that time. It wasn’t as if Rossetti could skip down to her local supermarket and pick up some ripe greengages! These fruits are meant to serve as something irresistible something alluring.

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