Frozen Meets Goblin Market

Disney’s Frozen took audiences by storm when it hit theaters in 2013. With a quirky snowman, charming love interests, majestic powers, and singing trolls, Disney defied all odds and ventured away from the status quo to enchant viewers with a story of two sisters whose bond is stronger than tragedy. Like Frozen, Cristina Rossetti’s Goblin Market written in 1862, has a similar story line of two sisters who stick together despite abominable circumstances. Both tales, all though composed at different times, share similar character qualities and the same meaning of heroic sisterhood.

In Frozen the two sisters are Elsa and Anna and in Goblin Market the sisters are Lizzie and Laura. The parallels between these characters are seen in the beginning of the movie, Anna as Laura and Elsa as Lizzie. Elsa is older than Anna, which she is depicted as being more mature when she is casually sleeping in her bed at night and Anna comes in and jumps on her asking to play. Anna is like Laura here because she is curious and playful and wants to build a snowman with her sister’s powers. Elsa gives in and both play in the ballroom, but things turn drastically and Elsa accidently strikes her sister with her power and hurts her. After this the roles switch between sisters as they grow older, Elsa becomes Laura and Anna becomes Lizzie. The start of this change happens in the scene “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” where Anna is begging her sister to come out the room she is hidden in. Elsa is similarly like Laura when Laura falls ill after she is tempted by the goblin men to eat the fruit and is stuck in her bed for some time. Elsa’s illness is not really an illness but what keeps her hidden in her bedroom is her magical powers that she is afraid of. As the song moves along, Anna sings “we only have each other, it’s just you and me” and that illustrates how strong their sisterly bond should be and just like how Rossetti depicts Laura and Lizzie on their own, Anna and Elsa are like that too. At the coronation ball, Elsa and Anna see each other for the first time in a while and get into this huge argument about Anna marrying Prince Hanz, a boy that she just met, and this causes Elsa to reveal her powers to the community in which she runs away to a mountain. Anna goes in search of her, wanting to save her sister. This is just like how Laura falls ill from the fruit she takes from the goblin men in the woods and Lizzie goes off into the woods after Laura remains in bed, wanting to save her sister from being sick.

Similarly, the goblins in Goblin Market symbolize Prince Hanz because of the fact that both are the cause of trouble in the tales. Prince Hanz is portrayed as charming, kind, and loving in the beginning of the movie and Anna takes an interest in him for the time being. Prinze Hanz is the fall of woman. He is alluring and conniving.  The goblins just like Hanz, are very tempting and can symbolize man and how woman is weak towards them. They initially have fruit for Laura that lures her to take from them. Because Anna is interested in Hanz, she asks for her sister’s permission to marry him and this causes Elsa to become upset and unleash her frozen powers in front of everyone, which ultimately leads her to run away and hide.

Along Anna’s journey to find her sister, she comes across Olaf a snowman in which she and Elsa built while they were kids. Olaf represents both of their innocence before all of this happened. When Lizzie goes in search of the goblin men in the woods she knows that Laura’s innocence is no longer with her and she has to somehow try and bring that back to her sister. Olaf is refreshing and uses his instinct of what innocence and love is to help Anna realize the meaning of true love and that is the act of sacrifice and Lizzie knew that was the only way to save her sister.


In Frozen, Anna sacrifices herself for her sister Elsa from Prince Hanz.

Ultimately, Anna finds Elsa and both end up being back in Arendelle and caught in a huge storm that Elsa has caused. Prince Hanz has tricked Anna into thinking that he unconditionally loves her, and denies her when she needs him the most. Hanz goes in search of Elsa in the storm and finds her while Anna is captured in the storm as well. The storm stops suddenly and Anna sees Hanz with a sword pointed at Elsa, and Anna runs in between the sword and saves her sister. Just like Frozen, Lizzie goes off into the woods to find the goblin men and sacrifices herself for her sister to come back to Laura and help her fight off the illness she has succumbed to. This shows a bond between sisters that cannot be broken, “it brings energy to the poem and serenity to the ending, not bitter repression but rather a fantasy of feminine freedom, heroism, and a celebration of sisterly love.”(Mermin). The act of true love from Anna and Lizzie saves both of their sisters and in doing so, they realize that sacrifice is the inevitable reason in doing things. Because both tales defy the stereotypical hero that is “man”, something empowering and special is created at the end, a heroine. Most tales that involve a damsel in distress, usually need a male character to save them from trouble but Frozen and Goblin Market, challenge the “norm” of society and use the power of family and love to conclusively illuminate the act of love and heroic sisterhood.
“Then joining hands to little hands

Would bid them cling together,

For there is no friend like a sister

In calm or stormy weather;

To cheer one on the tedious way,

To fetch one if one goes astray,

To lift one if one totters down,

To strengthen whilst one stands.” (Rossetti)


Works Cited

Mermin, Dorothy. “Heroic Sisterhood in “Goblin Market””. Victorian Poetry 21.2 (1983): 107–118. JSTOR. Web. 4 Dec. 2015.

Rossetti, Christina. “Goblin Market.” The Longman Anthology of British Literature. Ed. David Damrosch & Kevin J.H. Dettmar. 5th Ed. Vol. 2A. New York: Longman, 2012. 1650-63. Print.

“Act of True Love – Frozen.” Hollymayjune2, 12 Mar. 2014. Web. 4 Dec. 2015. <;.

Rossetti, Dante. Goblin Market and Other Poems. 1862. JPEG File. Web. 4 Dec. 2015.

Kucharski, Joe. “Costume Design in Animation – Disney’s Frozen.”Tyranny of Style. Web. 5 Dec. 2015.

Frozen. Dir. Chis Buck and Jennifer Lee. Perf. Indina Menzel. Disney, 2013. Film. Web. 4 Dec. 2015. <;.