Ozymandias - Percy Bysshe Shelley

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  • Ozymandias
    • Context
      • Ozymandias is the greek name for the ancient egyptian pharaoh Ramesses II
      • Shelley was a man of high social class but believed in equality
      • lived through many revolutions, such as the french revolution (Napoleon could be compared to Ozymandias)
    • Passing of Time
      • "I met a traveller from an antique land"
        • the traveller seems obscure his place of origin seems equally strange to the reader, the idea of an antique land makes it seem aged, yet timeless and precious, despite its age, adding to the obscurity
      • "Nothing beside remains"
        • where Ozymandias' kingdom may once have been is now bare and empty, showing how time moved on and he was forgotten
      • "Half sunk"
        • the statue has not been cared for or preserved, but has instead been left for the ground to swallow up and ultimately, to be forgotten
      • structure and form
        • sonnet in iambic pentameter
          • the rhythmic and repetitive meter could represent the rhythmic and continuous passing of time which is unchanging and uninterupted
          • the sonnet form is strict and could reflect the strict, unchanging nature of the passing of time
    • Change
      • structure and form
        • sonnet in iambic pentameter
          • the rhythmic, continuous nature of the meter could represent the continuous change that is experiened
          • the sonnet form (petrachan but not an ordinary one) could show how he was once a strict ruler but no longer has the power to do so, as sonnet form is usually strict, but Shelley has adapted the form
      • "boundless and bare"
        • Ozymandias was once a powerful ruler and is now alone and lacking in the power he once had
      • "The hand that mocked them"
        • past tense - shows that he can no longer mock them and is now nothing compared to what he once was
      • "lone and level sands stretch far away"
        • what could have once been Ozymandias' kingdom is now empty, showing the change the lack of a fierce ruler had
    • Negative Emotions
      • "Which yet survive"
        • implies that the statue is surviving, not living, which could reflect how Ozymandias was once an important figure and ruled over people during his lifetime, and is now dead and forgotten by all
      • "colossal wreck"
        • the statue is huge and overpowering, but broken and destroyed, which could have been similar to Ozymandias when he was living, he was a powerful ruler, but his torturous methods were broken and wrong
      • "ye Mighty, and despair"
        • Ozymandias' perception of himself was so heightened that he believed he had power over the Gods (capitalisation of "Mighty") and he wanted to strike fear into them, showing his arrogance
      • structure and form
        • sonnet in iambic pentatmeter
          • the strict form and meter of this poem could be reflective of Ozymandias' strict rule and systematic torturous behaviour his people has to endure
          • "The hand that mocked them"
    • Nature
      • "The lone and level sands stretch far away"
        • nature is surrounding the statue and swallowing his memory, showing how nature will still continue on and the world will still turn even without Ozymandias' greatness
      • "Half sunk"
        • nature is beginning to overtake the statue and therefore overtaking Ozymandias' memory, showing how nature is the true ruler
      • structure and form
        • sonnet in iambic pentameter
          • the strict form and structure chosen by Shelley could indicate the strict and unchanging essence of nature and its controlling and unremovable impact
          • "lone and level sands stretch far away"
      • "Stand in the desert"
        • although the statue is of a ruler who was great and powerful, nature does not care and keeps the desert bare and empty, not feeling the need to honor the past ruler


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