Destruction and Despair in Shelley's Ozymandias and Equiano's An Interesting Narrative

Pages: 2 (694 words) Published: March 18, 2013
Christopher Connolly
British Literature
Southern New Hampshire University
Destruction and Despair
Despair and destruction are very powerful and meaningful concepts when writing a poem. I have chosen to write about the poems “Ozymandias” and “The Interesting Narrative” about how destruction and despair define both poem’s. In the poem “Ozymandias,” Percy Bysshe Shelley uses the desert’s despair and destruction of manmade glory to show the Romantic idea that nature overpowers man is not as powerful and meaningful as the destructiveness and despair of the slave trade in the poem “The Interesting Narrative” by Olaudah Equiano.

In “Ozymandias”, the statue signifies mankind and the desert is “nature” showing its dominance over man. Although the poem is short it is has a powerful theme when it comes to destruction and so called irony of King Ozymandias. The half sunk statue lays in ruins and on the statue it says “My name is “Ozymandias”, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and Despair!”(Shelley, 10-11) But around the statue lay nothing but lonely sands and despair. Shelley frequently reminds us that the statue is described as in a state of "decay" and as a "colossal wreck."The lone and level sands stretch far away.” (14) His choice in wording I believe draws the reader in and makes them interested in understanding the poem perfectly because it is interesting. The irony of King Ozymandias is that he says “look on my works” and when you looked around there was nothing but sand and destruction.

In “The Interesting Narrative” Equiano’s own life bears testament to how terribly it has harmed everyone involved in the slave trade. African’s were taken from their families and lost all contact with them in the process. Equiano's journey begins when he is kidnapped from his village with his sister, from whom he is eventually separated. The bonds of husband and wife, brother and sister, and mother and child were completely annihilated. Slaves upon...

Cited: Equiano, Olaudah. The Interesting Narrative of the life of Olaudah Equiano. The Longman Anthology of British Literature. 5th. 2A. David Damrosch, Susan Wolfson, Peter Manning. Boston: Pearson. p.g (868-70)
Shelley, B. Percy. Ozymandias.The Longman Anthology of British Literature. 5th. 2A. Editors. David Damrosch, Susan Wolfson, Peter Manning. Boston. Pearson. p.g (877)
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