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Kubla Khan Text Analysis Essay

The most striking of the many poetic devices in “Kubla Khan” are its sounds and images. One of the most musical of poems, it is full of assonance and alliteration, as can be seen in the opening five lines:

In Xanadu did Kubla KhanA stately pleasure-dome decree:Where Alph, the sacred river, ranThrough caverns measureless to man   Down to a sunless sea.

This repetition of a, e, and u sounds continues throughout the poem with the a sounds dominating, creating a vivid yet mournful song appropriate for one intended to inspire its listeners to cry “Beware! Beware!” in their awe of the poet. The halting assonance in the line “As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing” creates the effect of breathing.

The alliteration is especially prevalent in the opening lines, as each line closes with it: “Kubla Khan,” “pleasure-dome decree,” “river, ran,” “measureless to man,” and “sunless sea.” The effect is almost to hypnotize the reader or listener into being receptive to the marvelous visions about to appear. Other notable uses of alliteration include the juxtaposition of “waning” and “woman wailing” to create a wailing sound. “Five miles meandering with a mazy motion” sounds like the movement it describes. The repetition of the initial h and d sounds in the closing lines creates an image of the narrator as haunted and doomed:

His flashing eyes, his floating hair!Weave a circle round him thrice,And close your eyes with holy dread,For he on honey-dew hath fed,And drunk the milk of Paradise.

The assonance and alliteration soften the impact of the terminal rhyme and establish a sensation of movement to reinforce the image of the flowing river with the shadow of the pleasure dome floating upon it.

The imagery of “Kubla Khan” is evocative without being so specific that it negates the magical, dreamlike effect for which Coleridge is striving. The “gardens bright with sinuous rills,” “incense-bearing tree,” “forests ancient as the hills,” and “sunny spots of greenery” are deliberately vague, as if recalled from a dream. Such images stimulate a vision of Xanadu bound only by the reader’s imagination.

Critical Analysis of Kubla Khan by S.T. Coleridge

1627 WordsSep 25th, 20047 Pages

In the poem Kubla Khan by Samuel Coleridge, language is used to convey images from Coleridge's imagination. This is done with the use of vocabulary, imagery, structure, use of contrasts, rhythm and sound devices such as alliteration and assonance.

By conveying his imagination by using language, the vocabulary used by Coleridge is of great importance. The five lines of the poem Kubla Khan sound like a chant or incantation, and help suggest mystery and supernatural themes of the poem. Another important theme of the poem is that of good versus evil. The vocabulary used throughout the poem helps convey these themes in images to the reader. In the first two lines, Coleridge describes the 'pleasure dome' in Xanadu. In Xanadu did Kubla Khan a…show more content…

However, in this poem, the inspiration hasn't quite hit Coleridge yet, that is until the images of the moon and the women come into his mind. Soon after they are mentioned, "a mighty fountain" emerges and Coleridge's imagination process seems to have been triggered. These images in the second stanza speak high volumes in the creative process. By just panning his own made-up land, Coleridge had a vision of something that automatically set off his mind to help it write that much easier. Now the imagination can flow endlessly to wherever the writer wants to go. And it is now clear that art is made up of several fragments that are expressed easier by having numerous visions described through out the poem. Coleridge uses images such as a waning moon was haunted by a woman wailing for her demon lover

This image of a woman bound to evil brings the dark side of the supposed utopia to light. The peace and serenity is contrasted by the violent disorder of the river and the threat of war. The use of language in the contrasting images helps convey to the reader the extent of Coleridge's imagination.

There are images of two women in the poem and they are a direct contrast to each other, one representing evil, and the Abyssinian maid exotic and beautiful. Yet the poem is a good example of appearances being deceptive. The 'pleasure dome' may be beautiful with its bright 'sunny'

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