Romantic poets are famous for talking about dreams. S T Coleridge is also a romantic poet. After careful critical analysis of “Kubla Khan,” we find that the poet creates a natural world of romance. He is famous for his description of supernatural elements but this poem is entirely different from other poems so far as supernatural elements are concerned. It is one of the three best poems of S T Coleridge; the other two are “The Rime of Ancient Mariner” and “Christabel”.
The poet creates a strange and mysterious world in this poem. Instead of getting help from supernatural elements, he remains true to nature and illustrates real and natural objects. The most important thing about this poem that impresses the readers and forces them to read the whole poem with greater interest is its imagery. When the poet talks about landscapes, rivers and domes, it gives pleasure. Description of natural elements and keen critical analysis of dreams make “Kubla Khan” one of the best poems by S T Coleridge.
Critical Analysis of “Kubla Khan”
“Kubla Khan” is a dream. Coleridge confesses that he saw a dream under the impact of opium. He slept for a long time but his guests interrupted him. He forgot his half-dream due to the interruption of his guests. “Kubla Khan” creates an imaginary world. Poet lives like kings in this world. He captures a clear picture of every wonderful object of nature like a true artist. However, he does consider “Kubla Khan” a complete poem but a fragment. The Source of the poem is “Purcha’s Pilgrimage”. The poet was reading this poem when he fell asleep. Kubla Khan is the character of that book who builds a separate place for himself in order to enjoy the luxuries of life. The poem was published in the year 1816.
The poem starts with a wonderful description of a dome. It does not follow a story. It is just about the wish of Kubla Khan. The poet creates a world, free from the harsh realities of life. Kubla Khan is a king and occupies resources to build a wonderful dome. He orders that a dome be built near a sacred river Alph. He chooses a place Xanadu for this purpose. A dark forest, full of trees and the strange fragrance of different flowers, also exists there. Xanadu has also zigzag streams, sunny spots of greenery and ancient forests.
Starting lines of the poem describe natural objects. Romantic poetry is the poetry of nature. Every romantic poet remains close to nature. He never leaves any chance to illustrate natural imagery. These lines are evident that S T Coleridge loves nature and appreciates it. The explanation of streams, rivers, forests, flowers and dome is extraordinary. The Poet’s artistic talent and the power of romantic poetry can be witnessed in these lines.
The poet diverts his attention towards the green hill that lies across the cavern of cedar trees. He exalts the beauty of the hill. A woman who misses her lover or a girl who is deceived by her lover can sit there and bewail. It is a perfect place for this purpose. The poet further talks about the fountain. It is looking very magnificent. He describes its beauty. Water is running through it and scattering like grains. Then he explains the beauty of Alph river. It is the most wonderful entity in this place. The zigzag shape of the river increases its beauty. It is situated in a beautiful valley.
S T Coleridge goes at the peak in appreciation of beauty. It seems that after long pursuit he finds it. Previously, he was talking about motionless images of nature. He changes his style. He adds motion to his imagery. S T Coleridge’s imagination is praiseworthy. It seems that he is not only a poet but a painter. Readers feel the beauty of the dream. Every word makes this dream and its imagery clear; measureless caverns, the painting earth, the dancing rocks, the sunless and lifeless sea, the tumult of the mighty waves as they rush into the silent ocean, the scene where a woman bewails for her love— all these things have been described splendidly. Undoubtedly, he has captured emotions in this scene. In fact, “Kubla Khan” and its critical analysis prove the real power of poetry.
He also adds some music to this poem. Until now, we were seeing a mute panorama. The poet refers to a maiden, who is singing. He values the beauty of the maiden’s voice. Due to music, the place has become harmonious. Music, which is produced by a musical instrument, can be heard in the imagination. Here, the description of the stunning eyes of the maiden is remarkable. The poet has an astonishing quality of putting things in front of readers with exact same taste as he feels. In short, in the ending lines of the poem, the poet has created an imaginary paradise.
The poet calls this poem a fragment because he can’t sketch his complete dream. Even then the poem is a wonderful piece of literature. The majority of critics do not think that the poem is a fragment. They declare it a complete poem. For instance, Humphrey House believes that the poem is perfect and complete. Similarly, George Saintsbury said:
“It is complete. It is pure poetry, it is perfect.”George Saintsbury on critical analysis of “Kubla Khan”
“Kubla Khan” is no more than a series of pictures but these pictures are enough for the poet to enjoy the world of imagination. Although there is no coherence in the images yet every object of nature has been minutely crafted. There is a strange mystery in it. Especially, the moonlight scene is extraordinarily painted. The poet has referred to far-off places. The whole poem seems to be a Utopian world; a world where there are no worries; it is for those people who are lovers of nature. Maidens, music and singing make this poem an entirely romantic piece of literature. It is not wrong to say that if one wants to differentiate romantic poetry from realistic, one can read “Kubla Khan”.
- Write a critical analysis of “Kubla Khan” by S. T. Coleridge.
- “There is no coherence in the images” of “Kubla Khan”. Explain with a critical analysis of “Kubla Khan” by S T Coleridge.