The Influence Of Romanticism And Kubla Khan

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During a time period where an individual 's principles were considered as important as their social class, creators could voice their frustrations through their art. This happened to be the case for Samuel Taylor Coleridge, a famous poet from the 19th century. At this point in history, the social hierarchy divided people in regards to wealth and education level which created an environment where a person’s status in society made up a large part of their identity. The other part would come from their morals and beliefs, such as how they viewed humanity, religion, science, and nature. Two prominent ideologies during this era were the rational thought movement known as the Enlightenment as well as emotion-based Romanticism. Similar to modern society,…show more content…
The recurring appearance of the river, Alph, is an important reference to the values of Romanticism because it symbolizes the imagination of the speaker. When introducing the river, Coleridge writes, “... Alph, the sacred river, ran / Through caverns measureless to man / Down to a sunless sea” (lines 3-5). In this description of the river, the caverns being “measureless to man” is Coleridge’s way of showing that the Enlightenment belief of using rational thought and reason to discover the unknown is naive because nature, or the speaker’s imagination, is unpredictable. Nature plays a significant role in the poem as if to demonstrate the emphasis on nature that Romantics put into their work. Coleridge focused on nature numerous times in the poem because Romantics felt nature held a deeper, more spiritual meaning within its physical appearance. Coleridge wrote the speaker as both in awe and also wary of the natural world in the second…show more content…
At the beginning of the poem, Coleridge has the speaker describe Khan’s paradise as “... five miles of fertile ground / With walls and towers were girdled round” (6-7). These lines illustrate the extravagant building that Khan had built for him in a large area surrounded by nature which fits the both the Enlightenment ideology and upper class belief that humans can bend nature to their will and exploit it for their own selfish desires. Coleridge’s reference to Khan’s structure as “a stately pleasure-dome” (2) enforces the idea that Khan had enough wealth and power to build a palace that would show off his superiority which links to the same behaviour of the upper class during the 19th century with their castles and
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