'The World'

by Christina Rossetti


In this poem Rossetti is explaining a friendship, in which that person is two faced. At day she is

'Ripe fruits, sweet flowers'

and at night a she changes into a

'beast she grins at me'.


In Victorian theology, 'the world' of material pleasure and self-indulgence signified evil, in contrast to spiritual or heavenly aspiration.

The friend of Rossetti,

'is this a friend indeed'

she is doubting their friendship, and thinks that their friendship is fake. Her friend only wants something from her,

'My soul to her, give her my life and youth,'

which is also making the connection with the devil : the wanting of the soul, the 'pushing horns and clawed and clutching hands'

and also that 'the world' is associated with evil. It is a metaphor of the devil.

Rossetti thinks that she has some kind of disease and this is why she is evil;

“with hideous leprosy”.

Rosseti’s ‘devil’ friend is trying to change her as Rossetti is a very Christian woman

‘til my feet cloven too, take hold on hell?’

Rossetti is questioning herself on her religion.


Rossetti shows that ‘by day she woos’ and at night she is ‘loathsome and foul’

Its like yin and yang, good and evil, even though she is all evil, people only see the good side.


This so-called friend has followers that will do as she says,

‘and subtle servants blinding in her hair’,

which shows that they are trailing behind her in her day cover( her hair).

Rossetti sees her friend as a devil that cannot

‘love and prayer’ as the devil is evil and cannot pray to God because he is God’s enemy.

Rossetti’s friend fakes her way through the day,

‘by day she stands a lie’

Word Count: 299

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