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Samuel Taylor Coleridge, author of the poem Kubla Khan , was born on October 21, 1772 in the town of Ottery St Mary, Devonshire. Coleridge was a English poet, critic, and philosopher. He, as well as his friend William Wordsworth, were of the founders of the Romantic Movement in England.
Coleridge, considered the greatest of Shakespearean critic, used langueage to express the images and pictures that were in his imagination in the poem Kubla Khan.
Coleridge claimed that it was written in the autumn of 1797 at a farmhouse near Exmoor, but it may have been composed on one of a number of other visits to the farm. It may also have been revised a number of times before it was first published in 1816.
Coleridge claimed that the poem was inspired by a dream but the composition or the person from Porlock interrupted the composition, or piece. He said he was interrupted by this visitor from Porlock (a town in the South West of England, near) while in the process of writing it. Kubla Khan is only 54 lines long and was never completed. Also, a quote from William Bartram is believed to have been a source of the poem. There is a huge speculation on the poem's meaning, some suggesting the author is just portraying his vision while others think there is a theme or purpose. Others believe it is a poem stressing the beauty of creation. The lines of the poem Kubla Khan sound like a chant, and help suggest mystery, supernatural, and mystical themes of the poem. In the first two lines, Coleridge describes the "pleasure dome" in Xanadu. In Xanadu did Kubla Khan a stately pleasure dome decree Kubla Khan did not merely order, but decree that a "stately pleasure dome" be built. This dome is evidence of how unnatural or unreal the place of Xanadu is it has a ruler who ignores the unpleasantness that can be found in life.
He uses his vocabulary to challenge and tease the imagination into seeing what he saw in his dream. In Xanadu, there are not small streams, but "sinuous rills" and wall and towers do not enclose the gardens but are girdled round'.
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And drunk the milk of Paradise."
In the poem Kubla Khan, imagery is also important for Coleridge to show his imagination to the reader. There are images of paradise throughout the poem that are combined with references to darker, more evil places such as hell. On example of this is the "demon lover" that has bewitched the woman. Coleridge's image of the "dome of pleasure" is mystical, contradicting the restrictions of realism. The structure of Kubla Khan is really in two parts. The first, describes Xanadu as if Coleridge is actually there, experiencing the place first hand. The second part of the poem is filled with longing and a strong want to be in Xanadu, but Coleridge is unable to capture the experience again. It begins with a definite rhythm and beat and describes the beauty of Xanadu with rich and strong images. The second part is that it depicts the violence of life outside of the pleasure dome and even mentions the threat of war. It is proven that beauty and danger cannot be separated from each other, despite what the ruler Kubla Khan wants.
Kubla Khan is a self-portrayal by Coleridge who believes that it is he who controls the land of Xanadu. A sunny pleasure dome with caves of ice. The dome itself is a contrast with sun and ice, the sun symbolizing all things good and the ice symbolizing death and destruction.
The fourth stanza is when the poem no longer describes Xanadu, but Coleridge's desire for control over his imagination, to be able to recall the feelings and ideas of Xanadu. This shows that even the ruler cannot have control over the forces of nature, and the writer over his imagination. Both parts of the poem deal with the attempt to create. Kubla Khan has built a pleasure dome and Coleridge is trying to use language to recreate the perfection of his dream with words.
Coleridge was a very religious man and the poem is filled with references to God and other related ideas. Xanadu symbolizes the Garden of Eden, and how it is beautiful and innocent, surrounded by evil and the constant threat of destruction. "Ancestral voices prophesying war" could be God's warning to not go near the tree, as Eve fell for the snake's charm and persuasion. Coleridge describes the river as "sacred" many times throughout the poem, and to Xanadu as "holy and enchanted." This is another contrast to how something holy be enchanted at the same time. Coleridge talks too of "miracles." Coleridge refers to hell, which depicts what is outside the pleasure dome. The demons described are closely related to witchcraft and the closing lines of Kubla Khan describe pagan rituals. Those rituals try to protect not only the reader, but also Coleridge himself from the forces of evil and the extent of his imagination. Coleridge, having "drunk the milk of Paradise" wanted the image of Xanadu and Utopia and his final stanza is his way to describe to the reader how badly he wants to go back there.
I personally feel and think that his use of language makes strong images form in the reader's minds. I also think this shows us the extent of Coleridge's imagination. I think it shows us that he was very creative.
This poem is significant and important because it helps others understand the power of words as well and how passionate and real dreams can be. It helps others see how Coleridge views heaven, and hell and how he refers and relates to each. It shows the reader how passionate he is.
In conclusion, Kubla Khan is a self-portrayal by Coleridge who believes that it is he who controls the land of Xanadu. I think that the entire poem is based on how he has a huge desire for power, however does have to face evil and dome.