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Allusion in Kubla Khan

Allusion Examples in Kubla Khan:

Kubla Khan

🔒 3

"Abyssinian maid..."   (Kubla Khan)

The “Abyssinian maid” is generally interpreted as a representation of the poetic muse, and not a reference to a specific figure. The “dulcimer she played” is a variety of stringed instrument. Considering the Abyssinian woman’s role as poetic muse, the dulcimer may serve as an allusion to the lyre, a stringed instrument strongly associated with the poetic traditions of ancient Greece.

"Alph, the sacred river..."   (Kubla Khan)

“Alph” is a shortening of Alpheus, or Alfeios, the longest-running river in the Peloponnesian peninsula of Greece. As the Roman poet Ovid tells it, Alpheus was a river god who pursued the nymph Arethusa, who fled to the island of Ortygia in Sicily and turned into a fountain. The myth holds that the Alpheus river goes underground in the Peloponnese and resurfaces in Sicily.

"on honey-dew hath fed..."   (Kubla Khan)

This may be an allusion to the symbolism of the honey-dew melon, which was considered an ambrosial food of Greek and Roman gods. That the speaker has eaten honey-dew suggests a moment of divinely inspired creation.

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