This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

The Cycle Of Creativity: A Psychoanalytic Perspective On Samuel T. Coleridge’s Kubla Khan

2357 words - 9 pages

In Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem “Kubla Khan”, the narrator offers a host of fantastic imagery relating to a fictional “pleasure dome” constructed by the Mongolian emperor Kublai Khan. Coleridge professed ignorance of the poem’s meaning, saying only that it was a fragmented memory of a dream, but an analysis of the symbolic imagery of the poem through the lens of psychoanalytic interpretation will show that the poem is a study of the nature of creativity and imagination and the dangers associated with it. This interpretation of the poem takes into account Coleridge’s personal psychological profile, as well as endowing the poem with a more generalized illumination of the human condition.
Coleridge’s first two stanzas describing the beautiful pleasure dome are not only a description of nature as seen by the romantic idealist, but also point out a disturbing flaw in this ideal. The gardens and woods and meadows are all portrayed as still. They lack the vital energy that manifests itself in a dynamic setting. Rivers are traditionally symbols of life and of vital energy, but the river Alph is portrayed as flowing through a set course down into a measureless sunless sea, the water that it supplies to the land around it being only a fraction of its potential. This image represents a state in which one is bound to stagnation by one’s own system for viewing and ordering the world (Lawall 813-815).
In this pleasure dome there is a chasm described as “holy and enchanted” but also as “savage”. Typically, underground spaces are a reference to the subconscious, and this chasm is such a space. As a cleft in the earth, it offers access to something much deeper than the superficial reality that is offered by the ordered gardens and grounds of the pleasure dome. It is spiritual place where refinement and logic of the surrounding environment does not hold sway, and thus is untamed and dangerous (Lawall 813-815).
Outside of the chasm there is “a woman wailing for her demon lover”, and if one views this from a Jungian perspective it provides insight into the meaning of this otherwise perplexing symbol. Jung posited archetypes within every mind that act as somewhat independent semi-unconscious components of the unified self. The anima, one of the primary archetypes, is the female part of the male mind, and one of the roles Jung ascribed to the anima was, in a way, the gatekeeper of creativity. She is seen as the messenger between the conscious and unconscious. It is fitting then that the wailing woman is placed outside of the gateway to the unconscious, where she can call to her “demon lover,” the ego of the narrator that she desires to communicate with. The lover, the very ego of the narrator, is described as a demon both because it has spurned the creative, generative, emotional feminine in favor of the logical rationality of the pleasure dome thus leaving the anima in a state of unrequited love, and because of the destructive potential of tapping into...

Find Another Essay On The Cycle of Creativity: A Psychoanalytic Perspective on Samuel T. Coleridge’s Kubla Khan

The Poem Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coloridge

958 words - 4 pages Coleridge successfully illustrates the qualities of imagination in his poem, Kubla Khan, through the sound of words, the creative content and his ability to create and recreate. Coleridge turns the words of the poem into a system of symbols that are suspended in the reader’s mind. Coleridge uses creative powers to establish the infinite I AM, a quality of the primary imagination. Coleridge mirrors his primary and secondary imagination in the

"Kubla Khan" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

570 words - 2 pages "Kubla Khan" is a romantic poem written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. It has been known that Coleridge was addicted to opium and that he actually saw a vision while he was "high" on opium. And out of this opium-induced dream the poem "Kubla Khan" was created. Coleridge uses a lot of poetic devices in this poem such as sounds, imagery, and symbols. All the elements of this poem contribute to its implicit argument, that Coleridge's addiction to

Comparison of "Kubla Khan" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and "Lines Written a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey" by William Wordsworth

525 words - 2 pages "Kubla Khan" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and "Lines Written a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey" by William Wordsworth are poems from the romanticism period. Both poems share common characteristics and have some contrasting traits. The presence of romanticism, the fact that both are written after the incident or dream took place, and the difference in reality and imagination are very important in analyzing these poems.One characteristic that "Kubla

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

“Kubla Khan:” A Description of Earthly Paradise

2075 words - 8 pages when he was not high on opium – still there, but unattainable – the ‘shadow’ of his intellect like the “shadow” of the dome. The first stanza’s strict meter might actually be delineative of Coleridge’s brain, possibly the way ideas are protected there, or even symbolic of their being unreachable. The idea that the “Kubla Khan” might be about Coleridge’s “pleasure-dome” mind is the paradox in the third stanza: “A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of

Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

1708 words - 7 pages Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” is a poem about a lone sailor who survives a disastrous voyage at sea. Believing himself to be responsible for this tragedy he dooms himself to recount his tale to strangers. The most common interpretation of this poem is the religious view of crime and punishment. Early in the poem the Mariner shoots an albatross a symbol of good luck. Since it is a moral wrong to shoot the

The Psychoanalytic Perspective on Infant Development

1774 words - 8 pages , 2006, p. 26). In conclusion, many psychoanalysts have their own unique perspective on infant development. Sigmund Freud is the most influential of the psychoanalytic view because he was the first to make a valid theory on human development in relation to unconscious instincts and libidinal drives. He took Carl Jung under his wing until the two came to America, and Jung began his own theories on the unconscious and the biological predispositions

Write a sustained close analysis of 'Kubla Khan' paying attention to both the form and content of the poem

2595 words - 10 pages Samuel Taylor Coleridge's visionary Kubla Khan (1797-8) arose out of a narcotic induced dream. According to the poet's preface, he had consumed an effective amount of laudanum, and while reading from Purchas Pilgrimage travel book of 1613, describing the Khan and his empire, he fell asleep - 'at least of the external senses' and dreamed that he had composed up to three hundred lines of poetry without conscious effort. However whilst documenting

Kubla Khan and Ode on Grecian Urn

830 words - 3 pages Although both “Kubla Khan,” by Samuel Coleridge and “Ode on Grecian Urn,” by John Keats are poems originating from the poets’ inspiration from historical figure, the two poems convey different messages through their respective metaphors. While Coleridge emphasizes on the process of creating a Romantic poem, Keats expresses his opinion about art by carefully examining the details of the Grecian urn. In “Kubla Khan,” Coleridge expresses his

Cloeridge's Kubla Khan as a sexual perversion

1001 words - 4 pages Throughout the nineteenth century and even during the first quarter of the twentieth century "kubla Khan" was considered, almost universally, to be a poem in which stron feelings overwhelm any trace of sense. By far the most intriguing of questions asked about the most intriguing of poems is "what does it mean?" That is if, indeed, it has or was ever inteded to have any particular meaning. A thorough analysis of the poem, however, proves that

The Environment of Samuel T. Graves Hall

3023 words - 13 pages through various team building activities, heightened security and positive atmospheres, boost resident morale through functional facilities, and hall pride, and stimulates motivation to achieve by imposing high standards upon residents. The key to the transformation of boys to men within Graves Hall is nurturing by ushering a sense of responsibility and respect through stiff rules and policies. Each resident hall on the campus of Morehouse College

Similar Essays

The Composition And Publication History Of Samuel T. Coleridge's Kubla Khan

2560 words - 10 pages Derwent had died, Coleridge’s grandson Ernest Hartley whose edition of the Complete Poetical Works (1912) brings the family editing to a close. After Coleridge’s death, Kubla Khan did not undergo any significant editorial changes. However, in 1934, the Crewe Manuscript of Kubla Khan was discovered, which is a single sheet of paper that has the poem written in Coleridge’s handwriting on both sides. The Crewe is an autograph manuscript that is now in

Samuel Coleridge's Kubla Khan And The Unconscious

2471 words - 10 pages Samuel Coleridge's Kubla Khan and the Unconscious Samuel Coleridge’s poem Kubla Khan is a metaphorical journey through a complex labyrinth of symbols and images that represent the unconscious and seemingly troubled mind. It is a voyage that continually spirals downward toward uncharted depths, while illustrating the unpredictable battle between the conscious and the unconscious that exists inside every individual. Moreover, the poem appears

Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan”: Between Dream And Reality

1848 words - 7 pages     Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan” is a short poem that depicts “the Author[’s]” dream as a result of reading a book called Purchas’s Pilgrimage and falling into an anodyne (opium) induced sleep. Coleridge was in fact high on opium when he composed this story from unconscious composition via a dream. He then later put his vision to words. Coleridge did not intend himself to be directly portrayed by the readers as “the Author” character

Samuel Coleridge's Poem Kubla Khan Essay

1104 words - 4 pages Samuel Coleridge's Poem Kubla Khan In the poem Kubla Khan by Samuel Coleridge, language is used to convey images from Coleridge’s imagination. This is done with the use of vocabulary, imagery, structure, use of contrasts, rhythm and sound devices such as alliteration and assonance. By conveying his imagination by using language, the vocabulary used by coleridge is of great importance. The five lines of the poem Kubla Khan sound like a