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Analysis Of Ozymandias By Percy Bysshe Shelley

Analysis of ozymandias by percy bysshe chelley
on naijapoets.com.ng blog
photo from victorianweb.org

Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley in terms of the antique trait of the poem, it reminds me of the poem titled "Relic" by Ted Hughes. There are two different sonnets having the same title (Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley and Ozymandias by Horace Smith) but the one on our discussion table is about one of the sculpt images of the Greek ruler found by an archeologist in a desert which assumed to be a kingdom gone to extinction.
The image was a shattered statue remaining only the face of the Greek king. Where beneath the stone image was written:
'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'

The poem titled "Ozymandias" is a sonnet, written in loose iambic pentameter, where the first stanza has eight lines and six lines for the second stanza. Most sonnets end in a rhyming couplet but this is an exception. Both stanzas are dedicated to the description of the stone image. In stanza one, readers are given a clear picture of how the statue was found, the damage that had befallen the statue, the pride and arrogance portrayed by the statue, etc.

The following are the themes of the poem:-
(1) Futility of wealth and status: With the little that is left to remind the
readers about a kingdom and its  once upon a time powerful king; human wealth and status is truly a futile acquisition.

(2) Leadership and its inevitable trait of pride: The facial description of Ozymandias' stone image in lines 4-5 proves that pride is an inevitable trait of all rulers:
"Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command" (lines 4-5)

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(3) The immortal quality of things surpass the mortality in human: This theme reminds me of "Ode to a Grecian Urn" by John Keats where the beauty of the lady drawn on the Grecian urn lasted very longer than the beauty of any living lady. In this poem titled "Ozymandias" by Percy Bysshe Shelley, it is shown that immortality is better that mortality because after the king in question has long lived the earth and vanished, his sculpted image still survived damage and wreck and unspeakable circumstances of life.

The mood is mild and the tone revealing. The voice of the poem is in first person singular point of view, according to the opening line of the poem:
"I met a traveller from an antique land"
The setting is an undisclosed place which might on the road or anywhere. Another setting of note, is the desert which the poet referred to as "antique land" in line 1; the antique land is described to be a
"...colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away." (According to lines 13-14)

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Assonance in line 1 "an antique" Alliteration in line 2 "two vast and trunkless" Imagery in line 4 "Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown"
Irony between lines 10-11 'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'

"The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed" in line 8 of the poem refers to the attitude of Ozymandias towards those he ruled. Figuratively, with the way the words in line 8 is arranged, it can be considered a synecdoche where "the hand" and "the heart" are used to represent the king. There is also an inversion in the line_ in terms of word order. The normal arrangement is supposed to be "The hand that fed them and the heart that mocked".

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Samuel C. Enunwa aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo with wings flying)
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