Ozymandias

Ozymandias

Summary:

Traveller tells the poet that two huge stone legs stand in the desert. Near them on the sand lies the damged stone head.The face is distinguished by a frown and sneer which the sculptor carved on as the features.Around the huge fragments stretches the empty desert

Context:

Shelley grew up in a wealthy family and is knows as a romantic.He was expelled from uni for atheism which lead his father to disinherit him. He drowned at sea. He is known as a radical.Ozymandias can be read as criticsm of people/systems that become huge and believe that they are invincible .

Structure:

A sonnet (14 lines) but doesnt have simple rhymes scheme,lines are split by fullstop and rhyme is irregular.Uses iambic pentameter. The irregularity of the rhyme scheme maybe a symbol of the broken statue itself and how it is no longer perfect.

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1st

"

I met a traveller from an antique land" (1)

Shelley begins the poemby detaching himself from the story being told. He wants to point 'not open criticsm'.But a thinly veiled attack.

The very fact that the "land" is "antique" suggests that it is outdated, kind of like dial-up internet. The speaker implies that the traveler is coming from a place that is more primitive or older than the speaker's, a place that used to be home to a civilization and culture that has passed away

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2nd

"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair" (10)

The tone is indicated through the exclaimation mark as it shows strength and authority but it is ironic as nobody is listening. 

Also portrays ozymandias as arrogant and foolish as his "works" turns in to "despair" but he tells the "mighty" to be worried as their works will never be good as his.This deliberatley portrays him as stupid as their is noththing left "beside remains"   

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3rd

"Sneer of cold command" (5)

Shows ozymandias's character as arrogant and powerful but now ironic as there is nothing left. Also tells us the staute is wearing the same expressions as the king in reality. (synaesthesia)

Structure: The poet uses "cold" and "lifeless" to adrress how Shelley feels about his fustration about people with authority. The rhyme are irregularr.

Alliteration: Harsh 'C' sound show how cruel the ruler is.

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4th

"Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand, half-sunk
A shatter'd visage lies" (2-4)

The statue is barely standing, the rest is ruined and missing. Suggesting that it is eaten away by time and the desert is a futile struggle to survive where nobody is there to care .

"shattered visage"-: broken face it is unrecognisable, a statue od someone and we can no longer identify who it is. It has no purpose left.

Plethora of deeply negative language to shown the poem is an attack and is not praising th  powerful.

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5th

"…lone and level sands stretch far away" (14)

Nature has the final victory in this poem: the statue is almost gone, having suffered the same fate as the civilization that produced it.

Ozymandias's empire once "stretch[ed] far away," but now it is nature – embodied by the "lone and level sands" – that extends its empire. Interestingly, the sands are "lone" even though there is a statue still there, as if the statue is so insignificant relative to nature that it is almost not worth mentioning.

The lone and level of sands outlast the statue juxtaposed to the power ans ego of the statue.Sand is iconic of time

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