English Lit - Ozymandias (Poetry - Context)

  • Created by: Liv39
  • Created on: 03-04-18 14:11

Ozymandias - Percy Bysshe Shelley

  • Historical Context
  • Shelley's Context
  • Extra Context




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Ozymandias - Historical Context

  • The poem was written by Shelley in a collection in 1819.
  • 'Ozymandias' was inspired by the finiding of a large statue of the Egyptian Pharaoh, Ramesses II.
  • The Egyptian Pharaohs believed that they to be Gods in mortal form and believed their legacy would last forever.
  • The base of the statue said: "King of Kings am I, Ozymandias. If anyone would know how great I am and where I lie, let him surpass one of my works."
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Ozymandias - Shelley's Context

  • Shelley was a man who believed strongly in: freedom + equality for all people. 
  • He was also an Atheist
  • His ideals about freedom and equality came from the French Revolution, meaning he was politically radical for his time.
  • He devoted a lot of time to convincing others of the rightness of his beliefs.
  • Shelley was expelled from Oxford Uni for his part in writing a pamphlet - The Necessity of Atheism.
  • Atheism was an outrageous idea in 19th century England.
  • He could possibly be presenting Ozymandias as a scornful ad spiteful leader, who does not care for his subjects.
  • In order to persuade readers that successful leaders should try to rule for everyone and not just themselves. Perhaps he uses the name 'King of Kings' ironically in the poem.
  • That is a Biblical term used to describe the Christian God. 
  • By showing Ozymandias describing himself as 'King of Kings', when he is actually fragile ad temporary as the rest of us, Shelley calls into question the very concept of God.
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Ozymandias - Extra Context

  • Shelley is one of th most famous poets in English Literature.
  • He is know for one of his roles in the group called - The Romantics.
  • He was very wealthy and was to inherit both riches.
  • He moved to the Lake District and continued to write.

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