Points to remember:
1. The statue of Ozymandias stands as a metaphor (symbol) of the temporal (not permanent) nature of political power. Time and history have a destructive power that brings all to an end.
2. The statue in the poem also symbolizes pride or ‘hubris’ (arrogance) of all humanity in any form it may take.
3. Material possessions do not last.
4. The poet points out to us that all that is left is art (the remains) and a few words (what is written on the pedestal). It seems therefore that art and language outlast the legacies of power. (see Shakespeare’s Sonnet LX)
5. In describing Ozymandias the poet distances him from our present reality in fact the narrator meets a traveller who describes the remains. This level of obscurity (far and distant) makes the king seem less powerful and commanding.
6. The sculptor is able to transfer the King’s pride and arrogance to the statue where we can still see these expressions, even though it is now in ruins.
7. “the lone and level sands” - It is nature that is constant and unchanging, this is emphasised by the alliterations used at the end.
8. Irony is used in the description of “that colossal wreck” – this is an oxymoron or a contradiction in terms. The ruins are described as “colossal” yet they are now in ruins. The diction used emphasises that nothing remains – “ruins”, “ decay” , “shattered” and “nothing”.
9. Ozymandias is a Petrarchan sonnet metered in iambic pentameter. The rhyme scheme is unusual linking the octave with the sestet : ABABACDCEDEFEF.
10. Important quotes : “shattered visage”
“ Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!” “Nothing besides remains.” “boundless and bare”
“The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
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