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The poem “Kubla Khan”, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, is full of various auditory devices such as assonance and alliteration. Also, it defines the intimate emotionalism of romanticism and is considered a musical poem, as can be seen in the opening five lines:“ In Xanadu did Kubla KhanA stately pleasure-dome decree:Where Alph, the sacred river, ranThrough caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.” The fact that in some parts, the poem sounded sorrowful and also lively at times, that was intended to encourage its listeners to be amazed of Coleridge because of the repetition of a, e, and u sounds continues throughout the poem with the a sounds dominating. Afterwards, the assonance in the line “As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing” makes the effect of breathing. In the poem, as each line closes with it: “Kubla Khan,” “pleasure-dome decree,” “river, ran,” “measureless to man,” and “sunless sea.” the alliteration is exceptionally prevalent in the opening lines. In particular, the effect is almost to hypnotize the reader or listener into being open to new ideas to the marvelous visions about to appear. Notably, the other ways of using alliteration includes juxtaposition of “waning” and “woman wailing” to create a sound of sadness. Incidentally, “Five miles meandering with a mazy motion” literally sounded like the movement it described. The repetition of the initial h and d sounds in the closing lines creates an image of the narrator as haunted and doomed:“His flashing eyes, his floating hair!Weave a circle round him thrice, And close your eyes with holy dread, For he on honey-dew hath fed, And drunk the milk of Paradise.”Ergo, with the assonance and alliteration, the impact of the last rhyme of the poem and from the established a sensation of movement to reinforce the image of the flowing river with the shadow of the pleasure dome floating upon it.
Moreover, such images stimulate a vision of Xanadu bound only by the reader’s imagination. Particularly, without being so specific, the imagery of “Kubla Khan” tends to evoke that it contradicts the magical, dreamlike effect for which Coleridge is striving. The “gardens bright with sinuous rills,” “incense-bearing tree,” “forests ancient as the hills,” and “sunny spots of greenery” are intentionally vague, as if remembered from a dream. As to mention that Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote this work of literature because he was deprived of opium. He took opium for medicinal purposes.
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