September 21, 2011
The Outdated Statues
"Ozymandias" is about a speaker learning from a traveler about a huge broken statue in the middle of the desert. The statue was of an Egyptian King Ramses II, also known as “Ozymandias.” The traveler explains to us the great work of the sculptor, who captured the king’s “passions” and gave meaning to a lifeless thing. Then towards the end of the poem there was an inscription that contradicted itself.
Just as the statue in the poem “Ozymandias” has an inscription marked into it, the poem “New Colossus” is an inscription to a statue itself, being the statue of liberty. “Ozymandias” shows how the statue’s original inscription is contradictory to what it has become, similar to what the “Newer Colossus” explains.
The inscription in the poem “Ozymandias” read “I am Ozymandias, King of Kings; if anyone wishes to know what I am and where I lie, let him surpass me in some of my exploits.” This idea gave him an almost “god-like” characteristics and that his powers were unmatched by none.
However the irony is that the statue is in a desert that shows the difference between “real-power” to that of self given powers. By the time the statue is seen, nothing remains but a crushed stone, battered “visage,” and “trunkless legs” enclosed by “nothing” but “level sands” that “stretch far away.” Shelley thus points out that things become pointless or irrelevant eventually.
This themes of lost meaning is relevant in the poems the “New Colossus” and the “Newer Colossus.” In the poem, the “New Colossus” it stated “"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" This was written back in the era when the United States was a growing nation and we wanted a population, which can eventually turn into a work force.
But just as the...