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Ozymandias
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Structure
• It is a sonnet (14 lines).
• It has an octave and a sestet, each
with their own themes and line 9
contains a t...
Who was Ozymandias?
• Rameses II (an Egyptian pharoah) was known as Ozymandias. He
lived from 1279 to 1213 B.C.E. and was ...
THE OCTAVE
• This refers to the first 8 lines of the poem.
I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and tr...
I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
3. Ancient
land of Egypt.
1. Persona/...
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
1. Setting: where the
statue...
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on...
THE SESTET
• REFERS TO THE LAST 6 LINES OF THE POEM:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king ...
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
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 aw...
OVERVIEW
• The poet attempts to convey the message that
no matter how great we think we are – we all
ultimately succumb (g...
“I am Ozymandias, King of Kings! Look on my works, ye mighty
And despair”
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Ozymandias - Percy Bysshe Shelley

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Analysis of Ozymandias (Poem) by Percy Bysshe Shelley. Line by line analysis of content, figures of speech, general theory and broader context.

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Ozymandias - Percy Bysshe Shelley

  1. 1. Ozymandias Percy Bysshe Shelley
  2. 2. Structure • It is a sonnet (14 lines). • It has an octave and a sestet, each with their own themes and line 9 contains a turn in the poem. • It is a Pertrachan (Italian) sonnet.
  3. 3. Who was Ozymandias? • Rameses II (an Egyptian pharoah) was known as Ozymandias. He lived from 1279 to 1213 B.C.E. and was some 96 years old when he died. He had 200 wives and concubines, with 96 sons and 60 daughters. • His statue is at the site of the ancient Egyptian capital, Thebes (about 420 miles south of Cairo). • The statue of Ozymandias was originally fifty-seven feet high. An inscription on it told onlookers, "I am Ozymandias, king of kings," and challenged them to perform greater works than he did.
  4. 4. THE OCTAVE • This refers to the first 8 lines of the poem. I met a traveler 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 shattered visage lies, whose frown, And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command, 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; Theme: •The destruction that time visits on anything and everything on this earth. •The octave describes what the traveler saw: the ruins of the ancient statue of Ozymandias. •Characteristics of the statue, the frown, the outstretched hand, etc. This in turn tells us what the pharaoh was like.
  5. 5. I met a traveler from an antique land Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone 3. Ancient land of Egypt. 1. Persona/speaker 2. The whole story is based upon what the traveler apparently told the poet. 4. The legs were very, very big but they were detached from the trunk or body of the statue. 5. Referring to a statue.
  6. 6. Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand, Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown, 1. Setting: where the statue can be found. 2. The stone face from the statue of Ramesses was lying in the desert sand. As the wind of ages blew, the sand covered the statue further and further, making it seem as if it was sinking into the sand. 4. The face of the pharaoh. 3. Broken, in pieces.
  7. 7. And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command, 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; 5. Very accurate in the capturing of the pharaoh’s character in the statue. 2. ‘Wrinkled, sneer, cold command and mocked’ shows us the pharaohs attitude to the people 1. Alliteration of the harsh ‘c’ sound reinforces that the pharaoh was unfeeling. 6. Did still take care of the people. 4. Stone statues. The facial features have been “stamped” or sculpted into the stone.
  8. 8. THE SESTET • REFERS TO THE LAST 6 LINES OF THE POEM: And on the pedestal these words appear: “My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: 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. Theme: The foolishness of Man – Ozymandias believed in his own greatness to the extent that he felt he would defy Time by building such a massive statue •The sestet makes the point that nothing is left of all the former glory, other than disjointed parts, now in the middle of a desert. • The poet uses irony to express the uselessness of (abused) power, pride and arrogance.
  9. 9. And on the pedestal these words appear: “My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!” 2. The pharaoh, in his arrogance, believed that he was the greatest of rulers - the "king of kings". His works - public buildings, statues, etc -- were so great that everyone would cower in fear when they observed them. The irony, however, is that these great works have collapsed and lie in ruins everywhere, and few can even remember who Rameses II was. 1. Pedestal the base of a statue, the support upon which the statue rests. 3. The pharaohs enemies. As soon they saw these statues and monuments, they would know that such great works would indicate a truly powerful ruler. They would then fear what he would do to them and their armies.
  10. 10. Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away. 1. There are no “works” for anyone to look at – there is just desert and a statue that is in pieces. 2. Even the greatest rulers and tyrants are subject to time’s effects of decay. Time does not pick and choose who it affects and who it doesn’t. 5. Alliteration links key words/ideas related to the desolation of the scene. ‘l’ and ‘s’ sounds 3. Very, very big. However, the effects of time have wrecked the last symbol of the pharaoh’s power – the statue. 4. The desert stretches as far as the eye can see. It is so vast that it has no boundaries ("boundless") and nothing grows there ("bare").
  11. 11. OVERVIEW • The poet attempts to convey the message that no matter how great we think we are – we all ultimately succumb (give in) to the power of Time. • Ozymandias believed he would be invincible and would live on forever in his statues etc; however this is not to be.
  12. 12. “I am Ozymandias, King of Kings! Look on my works, ye mighty And despair”

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