A Display of Decay Essay

A Display of Decay Essay

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Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “Ozymandias” is a fourteen-line symbolic sonnet that demonstrates a decline in power and the loss of possessions as the central theme. A sonnet has fourteen-lines, usually written in iambic pentameter, and is one of English greatest poetic forms (Holman & Snyder, 2014). However, Shelley’s sonnet is committed to the definition of a sonnet but his sonnet really helps the reader to really appreciate the lyrics contained.
Shelley sonnet depicts two stories: one traveler viewing the sites of ancient ruins and second traveler is Ozymandias, a Greek name, an ancient Egyptian king, and ruler during the thirteen century B.C, whose sculptor tells the king’s story. Shelley accomplishes this by having the two travelers’ communication with each other and making sure the reader as enough details characteristics of their meeting. This is performed by making each traveler detail their observation on each other and themselves. The first traveler, who story is set apart from the other speaker, reports on the strange ruined statue that lays fragmented and decay in the desert. The speaker’s abrupt experience is described as “I met a traveler from an antique land” (Line 1). The reader is left contemplating whether that traveler is from an ancient land or is just passing through. From the beginning Shelley’s description of the traveler grips the reader into a visualization of what the traveler could look like. The second speaker is now in conversation with the traveler and the traveler’s story is set apart from the speaker’s immediate experience. During the entire poem Shelley never truly explains where this conversation between the speaker and the traveler about the decaying statue takes place. Again, this allows th...


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...permanent or forever. People, places, and possessions are transient and will fade in time.
It is important to keep in mind the view points and perspectives of both travelers. The unknown traveler, telling and describing the scene, creates a mystery of a king in time lost and is reduce to the following brief sentence “Nothing beside remains.” Shelley reinforces the setting by stating sculptors “half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown” is not how you are remembered, it is how travelers comprehend your life.



Works Cited

Holman, B. & Snyder, M. (2014). Sonnet. Retrieved from http://poetry.about.com/od/poeticforms/g/sonnet.htm
Kennedy, X. J., & Gioia, D. (2013). Symbol. In J. Terry, K. Glynn and D. Campion (Eds.), Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing (7 ed., pp. 234-245; pp. 250-256). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education

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