Imagery in Kubla Khan

Imagery Examples in Kubla Khan:

Kubla Khan 3

"A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!..."   (Kubla Khan)

The image of the “sunny pleasure dome with caves of ice,” with its dualities of hot and cold, dome and cave, pleasure and discomfort, underscores the fantastical nature of Xanadu. Only in a dream can such opposites be brought together.

"Floated midway on the waves;..."   (Kubla Khan)

In this image, we see the palace casting its shadow on the sea below, a representation of how paradise and perfection loom over the results of artistic creation. The shadow of the palace is a haunting figure of what could be.

"caverns measureless to man..."   (Kubla Khan)

The image of the “caverns measureless to man” connects the Alphean myth to one of the poem’s central themes. If the river is the flow of consciousness—a classic poetic trope—the river’s underground flow becomes a metaphor for the unconscious, the source of the creative imagination.