Female Archetypes In The Bloody Chamber And The Goblin Market

Both Angela Carter and Rossetti seek to explore the ways in which women challenge and overcome archetypes. They present this through the women being victims of sexual desires by men. However, both text covey a sense of sisterhood and solidarity between women as this can form a sense of security for them. The writers present this by utilizing the “fairy tale” styled stories to controversially present a female hero rather than a stereotypical male hero and subvert from typical conclusion. Both literary works contrast the archetypal idea that a man must always be the saviour.

In Rossetti’s ‘The Goblin Market’ and Carter’s ‘The Bloody chamber’, both writers present the female characters as reliant on each other to overcome hegemonic masculinity. One distinguishing feature of 'The Bloody Chamber' is its narrator-not like a customary fantasy storyteller. This narrator is simply the courageous woman. By giving her a voice, Carter tested fantasy conventions. Giving the woman a chance to reveal to her story empowers women by placing her in a historically male-dominated role of storyteller and survivor - as she reveals that her suffering becomes the source of understanding-opposed to making her the typical damsel in distress. Cater universalizes her triumph so that she represents all women.

In, ‘The Goblin Market’, Rossetti seems to imply that initially all women are weak and fragile and should work together to overcome hegemonic masculinity. This is illustrated as Lizzie sacrifices herself to the goblins to recover an antidote for her sister Laura. We see this in the line “white and golden Lizzie stood, like a lily in a flood’.Rosseti uses the imagery of the lilies’ apparent beauty to suggest the narrator’s innocence and the marquis’ sexual corruption. Lilies being traditionally a symbol of Chasity and virtue however this contrasts its representation of death. This contrasts with the terrors of a flood suggesting that Lizzie’s feminine identity is being fragmented by the goblins. However, this can also link to the fairy-tale concept of the bloody chamber. The notion of women becoming victims of sexism is reinforced by inspiration for the poem from Rossetti. Rossetti had been working with ' Fallen Women ' in a charitable organization. Through her understanding of girls being victims of their culture, she can represent these experiences. Critic Simon Avery describes how in poems such as' Goblin Market ' Rossetti imposes the value of the institution of marriage for support. For example, as the sisters are considered to depend on each other, they are not covered by a husband and the marriage institution. This may mean that the cause why when the goblins may have invaded their feminine image is due to lack of marriage and hence security.

Similarly, within the bloody chamber it can be said that women are it can be said that women are initially are victims of the sexual desires of men. For example, at the beginning it states that the marquis had been “married three times within my own brief lifetime…he had invited me to join the gallery of beautiful women. We see how carter emphasises the narrator’s youth against her husband’s experience. Perhaps this could foreshadow the marquis’ view of women and the danger he poses to them. Carter also portrays women as victims in the tiger’s bride. This also illustrated at the beginning as we that the narrator portrays her gambling dad as an item of humiliation used for marital gain. This is shown as she states that her father lost her to the ‘beasts at cards’. The transactional aspect of this case clearly shows that people view women as objects. In fact, their dad may be the closest male presence in a female's existence, when even the woman narrator's father sees her as an item with only the interest to be dealt with. This would add to the fact that women are victims of men. The fact that her own father carelessly risks her freedom for a game further solidifies this point and how women are easily replaceable. Essentially this illustrates how no matter how close a male figure may be to you they always have to the power to mistreat or play with the emotions of women.

We see in Rossetti’s ‘The Goblin Market in Goblin Market, when Laura is infected with the goblin’s poisonous fruits her sister stood in “deadly peril to do her good, and win the fiery antidote”. This illustrates how, when confronted with the brutality and temptations of the goblins to protect the life of her sister, the persistent courage Lizzie shows that Rossetti creates the illusion of superiority in girls to escape objectification An antidote is a medicine which counteracts the effect of poison or disease. The fact that this antidote was ‘fiery’ indicates its potential to destroy as well as to heal. This further amplifies how the strength of women and how they could even be heroes which go against the typical conventions of a fairy-tale story. We further see her praised as she is described as a rock of “blue-veined stone”. Rossetti alludes to womens strength as she compares her to a rock. Which cannot be easily broken. It could further suggest that Lizzie is a child of god as the image of a rock is a reoccurring theme throughout the new testament to speak to jesus. She is further reffered to as a “Beacon”. A beacon is a beautiful artifact that gives light to direct and support the dark people. Like Jesus, often portrayed as the light in the New Testament, she shows a pure and holy way of being alone, isolated from the evil that exist in the world, the Lizzie can be described as the torch.

However, it could also be said elsewhere in the text that' The Bride of the Tiger ' shows that women continue to be victims of sexual desire and family love. This would be apparent through the reaction of the female protagonist to being lost to a card game-' I prick my finger so he gets his rose all smeared with blood.' The actions of ' pricking her finger ' may include irritation and an incapacity to talk out verbally, since they are immediately ignored. In fact, this expression may allude to sexual imagery. This is how the' blood' imagination can connote the breakup of the wall of virginity. In fact, blood is a sign for war and solitude. Carter uses the image of a rose symbolizing purity and tranquillity that is' smeared with blood' to indicate that the harmony and well-being of the female protagonist is being jeopardized by the selfish acts which her father performed on her reputation. This further suggests that women are indeed victims of love in both men's and families ' hands because the daughter's finger pricking causes pain to her father. Although the rose that symbolize the reason of the father for his affection, the' smeared blood' indicates that the daughter is conscious of her mistreatment; revealing her secluded emotions through the blood symbol. This shows clearly the harsh treatment of women. Some have noted, however, that Carters present characters and their world to their benefit. An example of this idea would be from the point of view of the critic Jeff Vandermeer. Vandermeer writes-' Carter’s characters are forever escaping socially, mentally, and physically.' This has been addressed before and is clearly evident in the manner in which the blood sign of the Carter can connote battle against her father and the beast, and how she refuses the beast's offerings and is then deemed a' woman of honor.' In the end, although the daughter may be viewed as fragile while' pricking her thumb,' Carter may apply to a larger picture of the her gaining power. This shows how despite the perils of sexual desire women experience, they are able to retaliate against them. Furthermore, we see the theme of female empowerment in the tigers bride as it states “How pleased I was to see I struck the beast to the heart”. The verb “struck” implies a sense of physical harm however she hurt his emotions therefore psychologically worse. This role reversal is not commonly seen as typically the male harms the woman.

In conclusion both the narratives revolve around love and death and the possibility of change. Carter and rosseti give powerful possibilities of transformation which bring hope and strength to women. They both explore sexuality however fight against passive patriarchal dominance. The issue of inequality is also highlighted as aristocratic male characters are defined by sterotypes of power and privilege.Thefore they are structured by resolving this power imbalance.

16 August 2021
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