Ozymandias

Good Essays
Owen Rowe
Mrs. L. Allen
Advanced Placement English Literature
1/10/15
Poetry Response 1: “Ozymandias” The anonymity, form, diction, and irony used in the poem “Ozymandias," by Percy Bysshe Shelley, conveys to the reader the useless endeavor of pursuing human vanity. Shelley’s lack of dialogue and anonymity along with the unraveling form in which the poem is written crafts a poignant and ironic message that reveals the human folly of the pursuit for vanity. Shelley provides perceptive proof that the quest for human immortality, whether it be through name, legacy, or otherwise, will always collapse. As soon as the poem begins the reader is presented with the poet’s conversation with an unnamed traveler (1), who is telling of a demolished effigy in the desert. Shelley leaving the traveller unnamed establishes the poem’s use of anonymity in the first line and allows it to crescendo from there. This pushes the idea that no human name truly matters because all humans will one day die and be forgotten. This is propelled by the decision of withholding naming anyone until line 10; the point at which Ozymandias is revealed to be the self prescribed “king of kings.” This choice reinforces the overall message of the vanity of human nature and no matter how great an empire or a king becomes, they will all inevitably crumble. The use of rhyme scheme and form gives the poem an effect of a woven tapestry of sound, rhythm, and structure which creates tension that leads to the reveal that all human legacy will never endure. The rhyme scheme of a sonnet typically follows an abba, abba, cde, cde, however; Shelley employs a more atypical abab, acdc, ede, fef pattern that immediately creates tension for the reader. This tension amplifies the theme of vanity being a folly by speaking of the once-mighty statue of Ozymandias while coming to the conclusion that it has been destroyed by nothing more than sand. It reiterates that all human endeavors and kingdoms will one day perish and

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