The structure of Kubla Khan is really in two parts. The first, which contains three stanzas, describes Xanadu as if Coleridge is actually there, experiencing the place first hand. The second part of the poem is filled with longing to be in Xanadu, but Coleridge is unable to capture the experience again.
The first stanza has a definite rhythm and beat and describes the beauty and sacredness of Xanadu with rich, sensual and exotic images. The second stanza depicts the savage and untamed violence of life outside of the pleasure dome. The disorder and primitive cycles of nature are mixed with images of evil and the threat of war are also introduced in the second stanza. In the third stanza, the life forces are entwined together to prove that beauty and danger cannot be separated from eachother, despite what the ruler Kubla Khan wants. Kubla Khan is a self-portrayal by Coleridge who believes that it is he who controls the land of Xanadu. A sunny pleasure dome With caves of ice
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In the poem Kubla Khan, Coleridge uses contrasts in the images he presents to his audience. Xanadu is idyllic, but also ‘savage’. Coleridge uses images such as a waning moon was haunted by a woman wailing for her demon lover