In ‘Kubla Khan’ How Does Coleridge Use Language To Bring His Vision Of The River And Its Environs To Life?

1023 words - 5 pages

In ‘Kubla Khan’ how does Coleridge use language to bring his vision of the river and its environs to life?

Coleridge uses language in his poem ‘Kubla Khan’ as an aid to the reader, to help them understand the vision he saw in a dream he claims to have experienced while under the influence of Opium. Although, some people now believe that he lied by saying this. He probably just wrote it because he felt like it and disguised it in this way because he thought that otherwise it would not be accepted by critics or readers because it was too fantastical, which was not the style of the time. This dream starts at Xanadu, ’ described as ‘a stately pleasure dome’ where Coleridge saw ...view middle of the document...

It is referred to by name, called sacred and given a character. Coleridge uses Alph to guide the reader through his dream. The geyser is also personified, as it is ‘breathing’ and later on Coleridge describes the rocks as ‘dancing.’ He also elaborating some images by using more interesting language, like ‘sinuous rills’ not streams and the walls and towers are not just surrounding, they are ‘girdled round’. As well as images, Coleridge also uses describes smells, for example he says ‘Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree’ and uses blossom and incense so that every sense the reader has is occupied.

Coleridge uses vocabulary to create a pace and mood. He uses monosyllables, for example ‘thick fast pants,’ to slow the pace of the poem down, with many short syllable words the reader has to slow his reading down to take in every word. This phrase also has an onomatopoeic effect, as it sounds like out of breath panting, when said out loud. Similarly, Coleridge uses Polysyllables, for example ‘blossomed’ and ‘rebounding,’ because these sound energetic and speed up the poem. He also uses long and short vowel sounds at different stages of Alphs journey. Long vowel sounds, for example ‘mazy,’ sound slow and relaxed, though this is also probably because it rhymes with lazy. He also uses bright vowel sounds; e.g. ‘chaffy’ because these have to be said more quickly and brightly, so they raise the spirit of the poem. These vowel sounds can also be used to demonstrate the turbulence of the river.

Coleridge uses sound imagery to enhance the reader’s vision of his dream. The first use of sound imagery is the use of enjambment, this is used particularly to accentuate the flowing quality of the river, with very little punctuation the lines can run smoothly into one other mimicking water. Coleridge gives Kubla Khan a very strange rhythmic pattern,...

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