What is the summary of "Kubla Khan?"explanation

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

This poem is not very easy to summarize because it is not really about anything -- it doesn't have a plot.

The great majority of the poem is just a description of the "pleasure dome" that Kubla Khan has supposedly constructed.  Essentially all of it is like this until the line "A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!"

After that, Coleridge brings in the Abyssinian maid playing the dulcimer.  Her song is supposed to remind him so much of Kubla Khan's pleasure dome that he could "build it in the air."

So the poem is really more about the imagery used than it is about any storyline or plot.

Critics argue about the meaning a lot, but the most common explanation for the poem is that it is about the nature of poetic inspiration.  It is about how hard it is for poets to capture in words the visions they see in their heads.  Coleridge, in the poem, could build this whole fantastic place again, if only

Could I revive within me
Her symphony and song

mkcapen1's profile pic

mkcapen1 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

"Kubla Kahn" is one of those very difficult poems from the Romantic Period in literature.  The poem compares the real world versus the dream world where demonic forces rule.  The poem uses imagery to convey the differences. 

In section 1 of the poem, the poet talks about being in Xanadu, paradise.

"A stately pleasure-dome decree"

Section II: Addresses how evil forces are pulling the poet into from his dreams back to reality. 

"A savage place ! as holy and enchanted"

Section III:  Paradise is slipping away from him.

"The shadow of the dome of pleasure"

Section IV: The man is once again is entering paradise through his dreams.  He describes it and its pleasures.

"A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!”


mohammadzai's profile pic

mohammadzai | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

Can you please make line by line analyisis of this poem of Coleridge:Kubla Khan...

I have some research work on it...


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