Ozymandias - Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792 - 1822)


Ozymandias - Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792 - 1822)


  • Refers to Ramses II; Napoleon was an arrogant military leader at time of writing; Shelley was a Romantic poet and left wing, arguing for greater equality and democracy.
  • From this Shelley is saying that power is transient, power is temporary and never lasts.
  • He never allows us to be impressed by Ozymandias as he keeps telling us that power won't last.
  • LAYOUT - Framed narrative makes Ozymandias' long lost kingdom seem even more distant and less imposing.
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Lines 1 - 5

I met a traveller from an antique land

Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand

Half sunk, a shatterered visage lies, whose frown

And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command

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Lines 6 - 10

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed;

And on the pedestal these words appear:

'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:

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Lines 11 - 15

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,

The lone and level sands stretch far away.

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Key Quotes to Learn

"whose frown/ And wrinckled lip, and sneer of cold command" - Cold command emphasizes the harshness of ozymandius through the use of plosives.

"'Look on my works, ye Mighty, and depair.'/ Nothings beside remains" - irony because nothing is is there, Ozymandias' power was only temporary and now he is only a memory.

"The lone and level sands stretch far away" - lone and level gives a sense of equality, although he was high up in his times, nature has leveled him out with everyone else.

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