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OZYMANDIAS

Percy Bysshe Shelley TITLE •He is often regarded as the greatest, most celebrated, and most powerful pharaoh of
the Egyptian Empire. Ramses II saw his land and his people as immortal, his buildings as untouchable by time and he never even dared to imagine that a couple of millennia later there would not be but ruins of his civilization.

THEME

•In this poem, the speaker remembers having met a traveller who told him a story about the ruins of a statue in the desert of his country. This is the statue of Ozymandias, which was another name for Ramesses the Great of ancient Egypt. •Even though the poet wrote about a precise leader and sculpture, the message is relatable to any world leader, any empire, anything human. We are all doomed to an inevitable fall.
TONE
The poem is a sarcastic commentary between the superiority and ruthlessness of a oncemighty leader and the insignificant and decaying ruins left behind. (legs and face) In describing Ozymandias the poet distances him from our present reality in fact the narrator meets a traveller who describes the remains. This level of obscurity (far and distant) makes the king seem less powerful and commanding.

DICTION

•The use of alliteration in the last two verses emphasise the insignificance of the statue: ‘boundless and bare’, ‘lone and level’ •Irony is used in the description of “that colossal wreck” – this is an oxymoron or a contradiction in terms. The ruins are described as “colossal” yet they are now in ruins.
IMAGERY
•Shelley based his poem on one simple metaphor of the ruined statue of a once-mighty ruler to show that all works of humankind, including power structures and governments, eventually must pass into history and unless narrated by future generations, forgotten. •Ozymandias’ ‘sneer of cold command’ can represent not only political power but also human pride. When describing the inscription on the statue, Shelley suggests that art and language last much longer than power itself. •The final line, “The lone and level sands stretch far away” portray the destruction left behind, all empires eventually had to fall.

RESPONSE •How would you apply the message of the poem to contemporary realities? .STRUCTURE The poem is a Petrarchan Sonnet. a fourteen-line poem metered in pentameter (10syllable verses). The rhyming pattern of this poem is ABABACDCEDEFEF.