Commentary on the Poem “Ozymandias King of Egypt” by Percy Bysshe Shelley

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The poem “Ozymandias King of Egypt”, being a very powerful poem, is generally a poem about power and is written as a short, structured and rhyming story which discusses the meaning of life and the changes going on in the world all the time. “Ozymandias King of Egypt” is actually a sonnet. It has fourteen lines and iambic pentameter and is divided into octet and sestet which makes it a Petrarchian sonnet. The rhyme is present, as it should be in a proper sonnet, but no clear rhyme scheme is used and this makes the reader think that something is out of order. I think that the rhyme scheme represents the difference between the way the king thought future was going to be and the reality, his future was out of order as well as the rhyme. This sonnet deals with a number of important themes like power, difference between the reality and hopes and the changes in the world which never leave anything the same way it was. It has a lot of irony in it, it sounds like the poet is mocking Ozymandias who was used to be powerful and confident, who thought himself unconquerable and who was in fact conquered and stayed there, with his head lying on the sand and with his shame shown to everyone who passes by. In this poem there are three voices; the author who starts the story as a first person: “I met a traveller …”, the traveller who actually tells the whole story: “two vast and trunkless legs of stone…” and Ozymandias who calls himself “king of kings” and fills this poem with irony. Instead of ruling people and inspiring fear in them, as he was sure he will be, his words are turned into a mockery and instead of being the “king of kings” he turns up to be the king of fools. The statue is described as a "colossal wreck boundless and bare" and this totally contradicts the reason for which it was built. The condition of the stones described by Shelley only highlights the despair of the king described by sculptor's hand. The sculptor gave us a picture of a powerful king with...
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