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Assignment 03

Assignment 03

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Published by: Javaid Aakhoon on Jun 28, 2012
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write an essay on Coleridge’s Kubla khan as an allegorical poem
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In 1816, Coleridge began “Kubla Khan” with an introduction that explained whyothers should not destroy the poem in their criticism, but enjoy it for itself. He beginshis preface by claiming that another title might be “A Vision in a Dream. A Fragment,”but that the poem itself seems complete. This is akin to a young artist claiming thathis art is not yet perfected, and then parting the proverbial curtain to reveal apainting of such skill that the ancient masters might have envied. This may be doneto defend the poem, which has relatively of what typifies Romantic poetry, againstthe attacks of critics in Coleridge’s own day, as it does not seem to be true about thepoem itself.By attributing the images of “Kubla Khan” to a dream (identified later as a drug-induced reverie), Coleridge allows people to dream a bit themselves as they read thepoem, something forgotten in the Neo-Classical period, but seeing something of arebirth with the Romantics. Imagination is the key to “Kubla Khan,” and is the sourcefrom which it stems. The work Purchas his Pilgrimage is in part to blame (or praise)for Coleridge’s dream, according to the introduction, because the plot of the poemresides within it, and was his last thought before falling into sleep.As Benjamin Franklin once claimed to do, Coleridge goes on to quote himself withmuch gravity. His carefully cited poem tells how, though his concentration wasbroken, the great dream he had known would come to light again. He makes excuseas to why his poem has not yet reflected the true image of his dream, and letsreaders make do with what fragments he can attach to the fleeting reminders thatremain.“In Xanadu did Kubla Khan a stately pleasure-dome decree,” the poem begins. Thecadence of the words is unmistakable, and the words seem to have a power of theirown. Where is this place, this Xanadu, readers ask themselves, and what of KublaKhan? Astute readers might recognize Kubla from Chinese history, the warlord whobegan the Mongol dynasty. Those who do not look too deeply, see instead the wonderof fantastic times and places, enjoying more and thinking somewhat less. A statelypleasure-dome, these readers postulate, is not such a bad idea at all, perhaps I shallmake one for myself. The power of Kubla Khan (as indeed of “Kubla Khan”) is implied rather than stated.Coleridge does not describe a stately throne or golden crown, but simply that Kublahas the power to create by will alone. This is much like Coleridge’s own power in thecreation of “Kubla Khan” and of all poets to their works. A pleasure-dome is madebecause Kubla wishes it to be so. Through his mind’s eye and his vast imagination,Kubla has envisioned a great dome girdling miles of beautiful nature. By will andimagination, Kubla subdues nature and makes it an object of his own. This wouldn’thave won Kubla any points with Coleridge’s friend Wordsworth, and perhaps it is thatvery voice of Coleridge’s Romantic ancestor that later prophesies war.
 
 There are two blemishes on Kubla’s power, outside forces that run deep and confoundeven the great builder. The first mystical blight on Kubla’s world is a chasm runningthrough the hills and forests. It is a magical place that seems to breathe, and eruptsinto violent spasms, coughing up vast chunks of earth. This chasm disturbs the riverupon which Kubla has constructed his great walls and towers, and thus disturbs Kublahimself. It seems as though this chasm might be the result of an earthquake, a primalnatural force, that changes forever the Alpheus’ course. The river runs a similarcourse, through wood and dale to deep dank caverns, but its tumult, which was oncewithin Kubla’s realm, is now heard from far. The shadow of Kubla’s dome, which oncegirdled the whole of a beautiful stretch of nature, fed by the river, now falls midwayupon the waves it once encircled. If the chasm did alter the course of the river (it israther difficult to say for certain from the poem itself), then this could symbolize thepower of nature to overcome the ingenuity of man. Like the theme of Jurassic Park,this implies that man’s imagination might be better spent on more innocent pursuits,and that perhaps nature has a wisdom of her own that humanity ought to let lie. Thechasm, whether or not it affects directly the river, does have a negative effect onKubla, for it is during the eruption of the chasm that he hears of an impending war. The second dark force in Kubla’s life is the prophecy of doom. Sounded by ancestralvoices crying out to Kubla, war is prophesied, but is not seen in the poem. Instead,the poem changes to the first person, praising the idea of the pleasure-dome andwishing to build the dome in air. This seems to be Coleridge lamenting the loss of hisvision, and claiming that if it were to be had again that he could do great things withit. This opium-induced dream never does return, or if it does it was never put topaper, for as Coleridge says more than fifteen years after the work’s composition,“the to-morrow in yet to come.”If imagination is the basis for the poem, power is the theme. Kubla, for all his mightand majesty, faces the fact that he is not a god. Coleridge, on realizing that his dreamhas faded with time, and that he may never reach the truest form of it by descriptionand poetry, realizes that he too is not a god. Like in the “Rime of the AncientMariner,” Coleridge creates a situation and a world that are entirely his own. Thepower of creation, “Kubla Khan” warns, is the danger of overextending one’sboundaries. Kubla became mad with power, and nature struck him down, whileColeridge felt the ultimate muse brush past him, leaving him with fragments of whatmight have been. This life we have, this beauty that we have around us, Coleridge seems to say, isenough. It needs not to be captured, nor does it need to be fully explored tounderstand its nature. It is by overreaching the power that God grants to men thateach will find his downfall. The poem “Kubla Khan” is about poetry, and art in general.It is about power and ruler ship. It is about living to fulfillment, and not beingdissatisfied when we come near our mark but fall just short. Enjoying the nearperfection that we are allowed, this call to art rather than to arms, is the only way foreach person to drink deeply of the milk of Paradise.
 
Attempt a critical appreciation of browning’s porphyria's lover.
 The finest woks of Browning endeavor to explain the mechanics of humanpsychology. The motions of love, hate, passion, instinct, violence, desire, poverty,violence, and sexed sensuousness are raised from the dead in his poetry with astriking virility and some are even introduced with a remarkable brilliance.In his poem “Porphyria’s Lover” we find Browning at his best. The poem is a lovepoem… but has a lot more to offer than just the bright sunny side of love. ForBrowning love was a passion, which had its destructive side as well. But this did not inanyway lessen or tarnish its reputation as being the purest emotion. In fact thedestruction that mostly love brought on the characters of Browning’s poems wasmostly due to other reasons like violence, may be. Porphyria’s Lover alsodemonstrates several of Robert Browning's defining characteristics as a poet. Itcontains his criticism towards the beliefs and practices of self-restraint and histraditional use of dramatic monologue to expose a single character's personality,which in turn often provides an additional depth to his works in coordination with hisuse of unphonetic language. Also taking into account the author's own personalexperiences with his wife, the poem can also be perceived as a representation of thedevelopment of their relationship. Browning's criticism of the idea of self-restraint isevident throughout the poem "Porphyria's Lover" as it was shown in the internaldebates both characters underwent as they decided whether or not they shouldconsummate the love between them.In Robert Browning's dramatic monologue, "Porphyria's Lover," the love-strickenfrustrations of a nameless speaker end in a passionate, annihilating response tosociety’s scrutiny towards human sensuality. Cleverly juxtaposing Porphyria'sinnocent femininity and her sexual transgression, Browning succeeds in displayingsociety's contradictory embrace of morality next to its rejection of sensual pleasure.In an ironically tranquil domestic setting, warm comfort and affection come to revealburning emotional perversions within confining social structures. The speaker'sviolent display of passion ends not with external condemnation, but with the matter-of-fact sense of a duty fulfilled. Porphyria’s lover sits next to his murdered lovewithout any regretful aftermath or consequence; from the narrator's viewpoint, aperception wholly distorted by the forced internalization of his feelings for Porphyria,not even the ultimate hand of God can rob him the serenity of a moment free from judgment.Porphyria’s Lover is his first dramatic monologue in which we are witness to the unionof two lovers. This union, as the poem reaches its end, culminates in to a uniqueeternal nirvana. Browning's presentation of an unreliable narrator is necessarily so,

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