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Percy Shelley

’s Ozymandias Essay, Research Paper The Romantic Period began in the early nineteenth century; it radically changed the way people perceived themselves and the nature around them. Romanticism allowed people to get away from the constrained, logical views of life, and concentrate instead on the emotional side of life.

’s Ozymandias Essay, Research Paper

The Romantic Period began in the early nineteenth century; it radically changed the way people perceived themselves and the nature around them. Romanticism allowed people to get away from the constrained, logical views of life, and concentrate instead on the emotional side of life. Out of this time period stemmed many great poets. Their works concentrated around the themes of beauty, nature, political liberty, and imagination. Percy Bysshe Shelley was one of these poets. Born in 1792 Shelley led an intriguing, turbulent life. In 1817 Shelley and his friend Horace Smith had a contest to see who could write the best poem about Egypt. Percy Shelley s Ozymandias was a direct result of this contest, and it soon became a popular work in Romantic literature. When analyzed, the poem Ozymandias contains many poetical elements, and also conveys many different themes that associate with the romantic period.

This poem is actually a story inside a story. It is about a man who meets a traveler, and this traveler tells him a tale. It is a tale about a great king named Ozymandias. This king was arrogant, and believed that his great kingdom would last forever. By the time the traveler came across the kingdom, it was destroyed, and fragments of a statue were all that remained.

The tone of this poem is one of lamentation and irony. It is sorrowful because the greatness and kingdom of a ruler is gone and forgotten. However, at the bottom of this sorrow, the poem holds great lessons to people who read it.

This sonnet expresses to its reader that all human power will end, and that possessions and power do not mean immortality or retained greatness. Here we have a picture of a king who believed that, because of his power and wealth , his grandness would last forever. However, through the years, the kings great works have crumbled and disappeared. The civilization that he once ruled is gone, and all that is left is Two vast and trunkless legs of stone. He once boasted:

My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!

Ironically this statement still has meaning, although different to what the king meant. In different context it can mean that despise all the power and wealth a person has, material possessions will not last forever.

This poem also questions political power. This is quite fitting since Percy Shelley was strongly against dictatorships during his life. The Pharaoh Ozymandias was a tyrant in Egypt in 13th century B.C. He ruled his people with an iron fist, and preferred to be feared, rather than loved, by his people. We see his personality through the poem in lines four and five.

Half sunk, a shatter d visage lies, whose frown

And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command

Shelley conveys the belief that a ruler will not be remembered by how terrifying and powerful he was. For example, the glory of the king Ozymandias, who was once great, is long forgotten. But perhaps Shelley is trying to express that a ruler will be remembered for his compassion and devotion to his people.

Ozymandias shows the reader that one thing will live in throughout time. This one thing is nature. The king Ozymandias once believed that he was the king of kings , and that his kingdom and his splendor would last forever. However, now nature has outlived the king, his kingdom, his statue, and even his memory.

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,

The lone and level sands stretch far away.

These lines give us the image that nature is constant, and will live on regardless of human interaction. Percy Shelley uses alliteration in this poem to emphasize important sections of the poem. For example, he uses the pair of words sands stretch to emphasize how significant nature is.

Shelley s Ozymandias is a fourteen line poem, metered in iambic pentameter, and therefore it is a sonnet. The rhyme scheme is ABABACDCEDEFEF which is somewhat irregular.

One, of the many, poetical elements that can be found in this poem is imagery. Shelley uses great imagery, when describing the statue, and its surroundings.

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,

The lone and level sands stretch far away

His language helps the reader picture the scene in their mind.

The Poem Ozymandias tells a story about the fall of a strong ruler, and shows the reader how to learn from the kings downfall. It is truly a great work of the Romantic Period for many reasons. Percy Shelley strategically uses poetical elements, such as alliteration, and imagery to improve the caliber of his writing. He also focuses on some of the main topics of romantic literature. He shows his objection to tyranny. He also suggests that everything will come to an end, and that nature is the only thing that will remain constant throughout time.

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