Write down the critical appreciation of the poem Kubla Khan

Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree :
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea. (lines 1–5)

So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round:
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery. (lines 6–11)

But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!
A savage place! as holy and enchanted
As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon-lover! (lines 12–16)

And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced:
Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher's flail:
And 'mid these dancing rocks at once and ever
It flung up momently the sacred river.
Five miles meandering with a mazy motion
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean: (lines 17–28)

And 'mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
Ancestral voices prophesying war! (lines 29–30)

The shadow of the dome of pleasure
Floated midway on the waves;
Where was heard the mingled measure
From the fountain and the caves.
It was a miracle of rare device,
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice! (lines 31–36)

A damsel with a dulcimer
In a vision once I saw:
It was an Abyssinian maid,
And on her dulcimer she played,
Singing of Mount Abora.
Could I revive within me
Her symphony and song,
To such a deep delight 'twould win me,
That with music loud and long,
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome! those caves of ice! (lines 37–47)

And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
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. (lines 48–54)

critical appreciation of the poem Kubla Khan


So Coleridge claims that Kubla Khan is a fragment. It is a fragment of a much longer poem that he wrote in his sleep in an opium-induced sleep. So he was ill and he was taking an opiate and he fell asleep and he started dreaming of what he had been reading which was a line about a Kubla Khan which is which is Genghis Khan and he says that these images just appeared before him in his dream and just took life and took shape so he woke up and he started to write down this poem. He was interrupted by a someone on business and that took a while and when he was finished with that he went back and tried to remember the lines and this is all he could remember. Now many people take issue with that they a lot of people say that the meter and language are too intricate and that they it couldn't be spontaneous is too finished to be a fragment. Nonetheless, it is one of the most popular poems in the English language and it's captured the imagination of so many and let's just analyze it a bit so the first thing I want you to notice about this is the way alliteration and assonance. The sound of the words actually builds up to this tone that further enhances the meaning. Let's take assonance first there are words like Xanadu, Kubla Khan, Pleasure Dome, Alph, so all the way through the poem we have this alliteration I'm sorry this assonance scheme and assonance, of course, is the repetition of vowel sounds. In effect what happens in this poem is it sounds like it's saying ooh ah oh so this is a very sensual ecstatic kind of a sound it's like one is moaning oh sort of like that it's the As the ease and the use that are repeated over and over and over again. In addition, there is a lot of alliteration going on which is the repetition of consonant sounds we have Dome decree, Kubla Khan, River ran, measureless man, the sunless sea so this alliteration serves as sort of an auditory device that adds the beauty and the tone of this of this poem.

I want you to also notice that the assonance actually ends on this line here where it says "As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing" there's no ah-ooh there and so it's like the poem takes a moment to pant and breathe a little bit. As far as the meter goes the poem is written in iambic tetrameter that's those are IMS one unstressed and one stressed syllable and tetrameter is four so it is da da da da da da da that's four stressed syllables and the effect of that is it gives the poem some urgency and you know it really moves in that way so together with the ah-ooh ah-ooh and the measureless man, River ran, sunless sea and these terse four stressed syllable lines it's really like it builds up to this tone to this hypnotic tone it's almost like you know someone is in front of you with you know the proverbial pocket watch hypnotizing you as the as the point bounces from one syllable to another it's a hypnotic tone a musical tone it has a very very rhythmic feel to it and it also is a sexual tone or an aesthetics tone like someone is just bound in the throes of ecstasy or in you know some sort of a sexual feeling that there that's going on there.

So then the next thing we want to talk about is the actual content of the poem so we have Xanadu which is a place of great beauty or contentment paradise, in other words, it's like the second Eden. Kubla Khan Genghis Khan decided to build paradise on earth he decided to build something that is perfect so 10 miles of area was enclosed in this perfect paradise place and through it runs the this river normally described to being the the Greek river alphas and it's this it's a sacred river and the idea is that they are going to hold themselves up in paradise and let the world sort of pass by they have Kubla has created perfection. But apparently perfection doesn't last very long because we have the woman wailing for her demon lover in a savage place and we can look at the addiction in this portion we have words like chasm, enchanted, waning, dying, demon, savage, pants seed urn covered with cedar Chafee means the husks are still present on this current on the screen those words all add to this meaning of the poem takes a more sinister turn there and what happens is the paradise created by Kubla is interrupted as this river explodes into a fountain and from this fountain intermittent bursts of rocks come flying out of the ground like a like an eruption of some sort. So paradise is lost here and Kubla that that portion of the poem ends with Kubla hearing his ancestor's prophesizing war now here comes war at war will creep into everything if we are not careful.

Then we move on to this last part of the poem is this idea of this damsel a beautiful woman she's playing on a dulcimer which is like a little guitar like instrument sometimes played with hammers sometimes played with the pic but um it moves into first person whereas it was the third person before and we still see some alliteration deep delight loud long but we have this image of this made this beautiful woman playing on her dulcimer and this is the poet reflecting on what has happened he says oh if I could only revive that woman's music if I could only reach perfection creatively he says you know he's thinking I'm a poet I what I do is I create I write if I could only recreate perfection if I could hear that woman's dulcimer in my mind I could do what Kubla tried to do I could create perfection in my poetry in my works in my life and all around me would look at me and and and say beware beware his flashing eyes is floating here so they would they would realize that he is the one who has created the perfection and it ends with he has on the honeydew on the honeydew hath fed and drunk the milk of paradise.

Well as far as meaning goes there are probably as many readings of this poem as there are readers people have gotten various different things out of it throughout time and so a couple of those things is it might be an allegory about the creation of art. All artists strive to create the perfect peace whatever their medium might be they strive to create this perfection perhaps it is the this this the theme of this poem is that that is a sort of a fool's errand that as soon as you create perfection you realize it's not perfect or something goes wrong with it or-or you kind of back off from it in some way but it is still nonetheless, in the end, he has this desire to hear the dulcimer again and create that pleasure dome in his mind. There's also this idea that Humanity might be altering nature and if we go meddling around with nature then it's going to explode in our faces you might think of gene therapy gene splicing cloning just anything where we are you know going and tinkering with the blocks that make up nature some have thought that this is an indictment of that sort of practice and that would fit right in with romanticism as they are 10 as they tend to glorify dfi nature. And then there's a sexual reading and this is the one that people probably have the most fun with and it goes back to the assonance the the ah you and and the rhythm of the piece and then the second part or second stanza you can see that the there are lots of there's sort of many different double entendre x' with phallic symbols and female genitalia symbols and the explosion of the river you know has to mean as well and there are other readings other themes as well people have gotten but for me those three are the are the ones that are most prevalent and I don't think they're mutually exclusive I think they can all work together and you can use all of those devices such as assonance, alliteration, diction with the with the savage and dangerous type of words there the the meter you can use all of those literary devices to build up to this to these three ideas that it's about the attempt to create perfection it's also about the fallacy of trying to toy with nature. it's also about you know the sexual sensual desires of humanity but in all, I think it's just a beautiful poem that has captured the imagination of so many over the years and I'm glad we have it you.

Happy Reading.......................
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