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Kubla Khan By Samuel Taylor Coleridge Asks The Ultimate Question How Great Is The Power Of Imagination, And Answers It, With Simple But Poignant Words, Beware! Beware!

1323 words - 5 pages

Kingdom of Imagination, Kubla Khan Be Thy Ruler"Kubla Khan" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge is one of the most celebrated and debated works, poems and other, from the Romantic period in English Literature. Coleridge wrote this piece in the period from 1797 to 1798. It is largely speculated that this verse was induced by a drug slumber during which he dreamt up what he wrote about later. Many critics and readers argue to this day about the hidden and not-so-hidden meanings and intentions behind this poem, and even fewer agree about the especially enigmatic ending Coleridge chose for his masterpiece. Coleridge's self-admitted inspiration for this poem was a drug induced slumber caused by opium, from which a man from Porlock rudely woke him up . This drug-induced hallucination, with such techniques as paradoxical imagery, juxtaposition of details and irony, asks the ultimate question - how great is the power of imagination, and answers it, with simple but poignant words, "Beware! Beware!"Coleridge's exploration of the imagination begins first with paradoxical imagery, often natural, but also man-made, out worldily beautiful and impossible. Coleridge writes, "I would build that dome in air, /That sunny dome! those caves of ice!" He uses both sunny and ice imagery to put together an impossible picture of warmth and coldness, the sun and ice. The sun stands for summer, a time for warmth and growth, of joy and carelessness, while ice carries a harsher drearier overtone. While sun is warm and welcoming, ice is usually beautiful but uninviting, gracious, but emotionally unwelcome. Coleridge's imagination puts sun and ice, whose individual connotations are opposite when used together, to describe an image that is amazing and incredible. This image draws the foundation for this mystical story, a backdrop that serves as the mental base for all assumptions about this story, its location, and its allegorical power, in terms of understanding and interpretation. Such paradoxes continue, "A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice! /A damsel with a dulcimer/In a vision once I saw." Seemingly unrelated and dissimilar ideas put together one after another, as if the writer intended to have a transition - even though there is not one there produce a dream like state that the readers interpret as the author's imagination. This unrelated imagery really shows the power of imagination, at first, the author talks about the vision of the sunny pleasure-dome, the ultimate destination in the dream, but then suddenly, the author starts talking about a woman singing on Mount Abora, playing on her dulcimer . Yet another paradox is his description of the "Through caverns measureless to man/Down to a sunless sea" . How can a sea be sunless? It may be underground or it may be that the sea is in the surroundings of the measureless caverns of his dreams. These caverns are as immeasurable as Coleridge's power of imagination, unbounded by numbers and figures, and able to encompass a whole sea...

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