Percy Bysshe Shelley: The Idea Of Power In The Ozymandias

October 6, 2021 by Essay Writer

Ozymandias was another name for Ramesses II who is often known for being the most powerful pharaoh of all time. Percy Bysshe Shelley is the poet who writes about Ozymandias and the rise and fall of his rule. He is regarded as one of the most influential and major English romantic poets. Shelley came to write this poem when he was visiting Egypt. He creates a memorable image of the once great and powerful Ozymandias who is in the middle of a vast desert but in ruins. This emphasizes the fall of Ozymandias and his once great power is all gone. Shelly describes all of this in the form of a sonnet and iambic pentameter.

The power of Ozymandias is described in the phrase “My name is Ozymandias, king of kings”. This also proves that Ozymandias was very arrogant but also a man full of honor because he is exaggerating his own abilities while being very proud of that fact. Another reason that we know that Ozymandias was once very powerful is described in the line “Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair”. This phrase is talking about how Ozymandias’s works did not seemed to have benefited anyone but himself. This expression “ye Mighty, and despair” suggests that he is challenging people who think they are Mighty.We get the impression that Ozymandias is antagonistic towards his people in the quote “Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command”.

These two lines are crowded with unfavorable vocabulary and the words “wrinkled lip” and “sneer” suggests that Ozymandias permanently has a frown on his face. We also know that his “commands” are not respected by his people as it is constantly carried out in a “cold” tone. It is also clear that he was not a very popular king as the poet addresses that Ozymandias’s hand “mocked” his people. I think Ozymandias has developed this personality by being too arrogant and selfish because he only cares about being the most powerful person and commanding his people to do his works as it only benefits him and not anyone else.

What makes the words “My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings; Look on my Works, y e Mighty, and despair” so ironic is that the pedestal is telling everyone how powerful Ozymandias is and how mighty it is and yet when Shelly appears in the scene Ozymandias is in ruins and his works are nowhere to be found. it is important that “nothing beside remains” by the statue because Ozymandias was a atrocious leader, it is crucial to destroy all his work so the people do not remember how they have suffered from building his works and is to also show that he has no power in the antique land as no one will be led by him again. In conclusion, I think that it is wrong to think that assume his power would last as it is impossible to beat time. However, it is not surprising that Ozymandias felt this way because the words in the poem such as sunk and shattered suggest that even the mightiest can fall from grace, but Ozymandias thought that he could always keep control. This is also because that Ozymandias’s personality is arrogant and will only keep believing the fact that he thinks that he’s the most powerful man therefore thinking that his power could last forever.


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