PERCY SHELLEY: 'OZYMANDIAS'

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  • PERCY SHELLEY: 'OZYMANDIAS'
    • STRUCTURE/FORM
      • Ozymandias’ is a sonnet (a genre of love poetry), written in iambic pentameter.
        • Perhaps Shelley uses this form to point out that Ozymandias (andthe arrogant rulers he represents) are in love with themselves.
        • The change in rhyme scheme: The rhyme scheme is ABAB (land, stone, sand, frown). This, then, is evidence of theShakespearean sonnet.Then becoming ABABACDCEDEFEF.
          • As Petrarch's sonnet form gives way to Shakespeare's, it symbolizes that all power ultimately gives wayto new power. Nothing remains forever: not even the form of the sonnet.
    • LANGUAGE
      • The name:Ozy’ comes from the Greek ‘Ozium’, meaning ‘to breathe’. ‘Mandias’ comes from the Greek‘mandate’, meaning ‘to rule’. Even the title suggests power and control.
      • "I met a traveller"Shelley begins ‘Ozymandias’ by detaching himself from the story being told. He wants toimmediately make the point this is not an open criticism of the British monarchy. However, thepoem is clearly a thinly-veiled attack.
      • And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,The alliterative repetition of the hard ‘c’ sounds reflects the harsh nature of Ozymandias.
    • THEME
      • The major theme of ‘Ozymandias’ is that those with power are deluded in their belief that theirpower is supreme and invincible.
      • The might and power of leaders does not last, but art (asrepresented by the statue) does. Even then, nature conquers it.
    • CONTEXT
      • King George IIIShelley wrote ‘Ozymandias’ during the reign of King George III.
        • KingGeorge III was involved in a great number of military conflicts around the globe. Shelley hatedoppressive monarchical government and felt that a revolution was needed to overthrow it.
        • Shelley begins ‘Ozymandias’ by detaching himself from the story being told.
          • Thiscreates a distancing effect, which makes his criticism subtler and less obvious: he immediately wantsto make the point that he is not openly criticising British monarchy,

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