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Poetry Anaylasis: “Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelly

  • Date Submitted: 12/06/2010 12:21 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 52.1 
  • Words: 927
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Poetry Analysis:
“Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelly
    In “Ozymandias” Percy Bysshe Shelley describes a mighty king who seems to be obsessed with obtaining possessions and worldly ventures to the point where he has forgotten his ultimate destiny. Beside this, Shelley reminds the reader of their mortality with the understanding that our earthly deeds, though important now, will one day be obsolete. By drawing these vivid and ironic pictures in the reader’s mind, with different symbols, Shelley illustrates that no one lives forever, including their possessions.
    The reader gets a physical description of the statue of Ozymandias from line 2 until line 8. In line 2, the word "vast" is not as common as a tired word such as "big", and helps to describe the sheer monstrosity of the base of the statue of the great king Ozymandias. To simply have two "vast" legs, without the trunk, points out how imposing the statue must have been when intact. Here Shelly tells that Ozymandias used to be a commanding and great king. According to line 4, Ozymandias' head is somewhat fragmented and laid to rot within the sands. “Half sunk”, yet clearly still able to stir deep emotional response with its "sneer of cold command" (line 5). Although the word "half" is not as impressive as "vast" and almost detracts from the imposing nature of the statue before its fall, it works in reverse to create inside the mind of the reader the notion that this huge stone head, half sunk and buried in the sand, is still large enough to grimace at the sky and curse at the passer-by who treads on his land.
    The non-physical attributes belonging to the departed Ozymandias have also been imparted after the mental image of two stone trees extending from the dunes, not far away from a head made meaner by erosion of sand and wind, has been established in the first eight lines. Shelley dwells little on the small details of Ozymandias' face, but by Ozymandias' frown, wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold...

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