"Ozymandias" Analysis

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The overall meaning of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem “Ozymandias” is that no one lasts forever; eventually even the greatest men die and are forgotten. Nature eventually conquers the tallest and most prosperous cities, leaving them colossal wrecks. The statue of Ozymandias, also known as the Egyptian Ruler Ramses II, was erected in Ramses’ own likeness in his honor, among other monuments. So, even though Ramses II was so powerful and recognized, he eventually became forgotten and abandoned. In Greek, Ozymandias can be broken down into two words: ozy and myndias. Ozy means air and myndias means king. Essentially, Ramses was the King of the Air, which can mean the King of Nothing, which shows his power is temporary. I think the author wants to show the fact that something that was once so powerful and looked upon, such as the "King of Kings" was, after a while, destroyed. Now, some statue, that he had had done for himself because he thought he was so superior, is destroyed, barely remembered and mocked.

The voice of “Ozymandias” is said through what sounds most like the author, Percy Bysshe Shelley, since the first line says, “I met a traveler from an antique land..” The poem is written in whole sentences, but they are chopped up between lines using caesurae, which makes them slightly choppy but with a smooth overlay. The tone, to me, sounds slightly depressing and solemn, but that is understandable, since the poem is talking about how nothing lasts forever.

Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote this poem in competition with his friend Horace Smith. Both poems have the same subject, tell the same story, and make the same moral points. They also both had the same title for a while, but then Smith retitled his poem to another name.
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