Exploring the Themes and Imagery in Coleridge's Kubla Khan Poem

The poem Kubla Khan is a classic which sustains its romanticism and artistic touch used to paint a fantasy land. Poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge draws you into this poem with, appealing imagery and has a way of painting a perfect picture of Kubla Khan. Coleridge has accurately devoted the freely conclusion of unbelief, regardless of knowing that the palace is a dreamland. He has shown this to allure us readers, and to inspire us by exemplifying the captivating, gripping beauty of a dream. The poem expresses beauty, and flows throughout the poem.

The stylistic devices used in this poem are, a range of some stanzas. The poem is structured into two parts and four stanzas. The poem doesn’t necessarily follow any organised structure, so the rhyming varies from stanza to stanza. There is a use of literary devices such as repetition, “caverns measureless to man”, “beware beware!” and with the phrase “pleasure doom”, which enhances the blending quality of the poem. The results of these stanzas make the entire poem, flow loosely with rhythmic shifts and draws in thematic change, this is apparent in the second to third stanza. Another use of literary devices that Coleridge uses is alliteration, “Kubla Khan”, “measureless to man”, “sunless sea”, “five miles of fertile” and “sunny spots”. There is the use of another literary device, foreshadowing “ancestral voices prophesying war!”. Lastly, another use of literary device is personification, “where Alph, the sacred river, ran” and “the sacred river ran”.

The poem is about narrative, and focuses on the ancient architecture of possible worlds or even an ideal dreamland. It points out two combinations of narratives; the first narrates the emperors ruling which explores an infinity of bliss built in contradiction, to the narrative of an expected war. In the second the Abyssinian maid’s lyric is disrupted by the narrative of memory loss, where the speaker is not able to remember the lyric. The poem completes with the idea that an imaginable world can be brought into existence, only if we can awaken the narrative grounds of this world. The poems several narratives all signify the revival of society, a potential world.

In Kubla Khan there were many dream-like aspects on how Coleridge would describe his visions. Coleridge portrays his dreams without the need of creating an illusion, and he is also descriptive with each vision to present his creations to us readers with his imagination. The connection Coleridge is trying to present with this poem is the connection between man and nature which is a dominant theme in where go forth from the dome to the river, and then from the sea to the gardens. Coleridge represents the power of visionary. This poetic thinking has the capability to create the kingdom, eternity, bliss and spirituality. The poem acknowledges the fantasy and the extraordinary display of these visions, within humans.

Kubla Khan is written in both third and first person, but the reader assumed that it is Coleridge himself, because when reading it felt lucid/dreamlike. This is presented in the poem when the narrative voice shifts to first person into the third and final, imitating the way the narrative viewpoint can switch within a dream. Therefore, Coleridge allows the uncertainty to who the speaker of the poem truly is.  

16 August 2021
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