"It's a weary life, it is; she said: -.
Or, better than any being, were not".
In the above lines, taken from Christina Rossetti's From the Antique, she lets her speaker openly express female discontent. Apart from displaying the speaker's wish for death, the poem also underlines her wish to be a man. The speaker implies that being a man is the second best alternative after death, for man's lot in this world is at least better than woman's. These discontentment originate from the biased models or definitions that were available for a Victorian woman, which rendered them victims at the hands of man and which never allowed the expression of their individuality. This paper is an attempt to study this dissenting voice, in response to the inappropriate standards that a Victorian woman was subjected to, in three of her poems- A Triad, In an Artist's Studio and Goblin Market. Further, the paper shall also seek to study how Rossetti tries to implicate a re-structuring of these standards in an effort to engage with important gender issues of her time. .
For a woman, marriage meant the acquisition of an "establishment", her own place financed by her husband. Marriage did not secure women the same right with men; however, was a norm that devised structures for judging women in Victorian society. Fletcher in his book The History of English Literature argues that Victorian respectability hides the importance of sexuality in the love relationship in a dark cupboard. As several critics have convincingly argued, Rossetti's poems on love and marriage challenge the patriarchal ideology of her time and suggest that she was engaged in a harsh analysis of the Victorian concept of marriage. Rossetti viewed the Victorian marriage market as a place of competition and betrayal. People of Victorian Era idealized the Angel in the House," the view that the perfect woman was embodied in the submissive, selfless devotion of the domestic housewife.