"Ozymandias" is a poem written by Percy Bysshe Shelley in 1817. It is a reflection on the fleeting nature of power and the inevitable decline of all earthly empires. The title refers to Ramses II, also known as Ozymandias, who was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh known for his many accomplishments and grandeur.
The poem begins with the narrator describing a "traveler from an antique land" who tells a story of a statue in the desert. This statue is a massive, imposing figure, with a frown and a wrinkled lip, indicative of its former grandeur and power. However, the statue is now nothing but a ruin, its once-majestic features now worn down by the sands of time.
The inscription on the pedestal of the statue reads: "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: / Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!" This phrase reveals the hubris of Ozymandias, who believed that his works would stand the test of time and be revered by future generations. However, the reality is that the statue is now nothing but a crumbling relic, and Ozymandias' name and works are all but forgotten.
The poem serves as a cautionary tale about the fleeting nature of power and the inevitability of death. No matter how mighty or grand a person or empire may seem, they are ultimately doomed to fade into obscurity and be forgotten. The image of the statue, once so mighty and imposing, now reduced to a mere shadow of its former self, serves as a powerful metaphor for the transience of human achievement.
The poem also reflects on the futility of trying to achieve immortality through one's works or legacy. Ozymandias, in his ego and pride, believed that his works would stand the test of time and that his name would be remembered forever. However, the reality is that even the most mighty and powerful figures are eventually forgotten, and the only thing that remains is the ruins of their once-great empire.
In conclusion, "Ozymandias" is a poignant reflection on the fleeting nature of power and the inevitability of death. It serves as a reminder of the transient nature of human achievement and the futility of trying to achieve immortality through one's works or legacy.
Analysis of Shelley’s Ozymandias
Personification is stated in the line that follows: "she was young, with a fair, calm face, whose lines bespoke repression," This element shows how strongly she is in repression. Second, this sculpture is to be found in the desert, an arid and lifeless terrain, and as it is made of stone, it is also very much of the desert as well, its stony composition reminding us that its physicality is inextricably linked to the same disintegrative processes that cause rocks to turn into silt. With a remarkable economy of words, the immense historical perspective and conveys a great moral from the lives of those to whom might is right and who believe that they can do no wrong. PDF from the original on February 10, 2021. It symbolizes the imperishable and unstoppable force of nature, which can never be tamed by human beings and is inevitable. If anyone would know how great I am and where I lie, let him surpass one of my works.
Analysis of Poem 'Ozymandias' by Percy Bysshe Shelley
With Percy Shelley poem, she presents the barbaric leader who has once had been a monumental ruler but has fallen due to his barbarousness, his words still cast upon Egypt; he has affected his followers. The traveler tells a story to the speaker. Shelley was also generous in his support and encouragement of fellow poets; he was a key figure in the development of English romantic poetry. The lone and level sands stretch far away. She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life.
But his words became true in another sense. Horace Smith's "Ozymandias" In Egypt's sandy silence, all alone, Stands a gigantic Leg, which far off throws The only shadow that the Desert knows:— "I am great OZYMANDIAS," saith the stone, "The King of Kings; this mighty City shows The wonders of my hand. Retrieved September 16, 2013. The hand is that of the sculptor and it is said to copy the image of Ozymandias vividly. Some critics also say that the poem is indicative of the rise and fall of Napoleon in France. He is also the husband of Frankenstein. It is forgotten and lost as it lies in the sand.
Caesura denotes a break between words on a metrical foot. The traveler said that he saw two vast legs of a stone statue in the desert. He wanted to be feared and admired forever, even after his death. Indeed, for a powerful political leader, such as Ramses II and Napoleon, what is recorded and memorialized in the chronicles of history are the deeds they performed and the character traits that motivated those actions. Nothing can stand and withstand time forever. It also reveals his great gift to adapt himself to any form and use it with consummate skill in rivaling even the best in the field.
Though, the predominant meter used in the poem is iambic pentameter, where a stressed syllable follows an unstressed syllable, trochee stressed-unstressed , and spondee stressed-stressed pop up in between the lines. Retrieved September 17, 2013. The title indicates which land the traveler has visited: The Greeks called Ramses II, a powerful Egyptian pharaoh, Ozymandias, so it is easy for the reader to recognize the antique land as Egypt, one of the oldest civilizations in the world. Retrieved March 4, 2021. Shelley has also used caesura, enjambments, visual imagery, pun, and alliteration in the poem. It explores the fate of history and the ravages of time: even the greatest men and the empires they forge are impermanent, their legacies fated to decay into oblivion.
Nothing Lasts Forever: Critical Analysis Of Ozymandias Essay Example
Here is Shelley's "Ozymandias" poem in full: I met a traveller from an antique land Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert. Retrieved February 22, 2021. Retrieved September 22, 2013. After describing this shattered visage which was once sculpted with such care by its creator, the inscription on the pedestal shows that it was once a symbol of great power. It also means to imitate that object, usually for derision, or to produce an insincere or counterfeit version of the original object. The iambic pentameter contains five 'feet' in a line. Lines two through fourteen are only one sentence in length, as well.
People only come to know about Ozymandias and his personality through the work of art. Also, the poem presents the statue as worthless and praises the sculptor for his elegant skill. These lines also contain some of the most vivid and beautiful imagery in all of poetry. The New York Public Library. Breakdown Analysis of Ozymandias To start, Ozymandias carries an extended metaphor throughout the entire poem.
It is not Ozymandias that the Mighty should fear, but the true King of kings—Time. He was married to Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein. Shelley believed that poetry by providing moral optimism could make people and society better. It asks students to list items in sequential order and answer questions based on their reading of the poem. The same events and sources inspired both poets. Round the decay Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away.