Ozymandias and Immortality

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Ozymandias and Immortality Ozymandias expresses to us that possessions do not mean immortality. Percy Shelley uses lots of imagery and irony to get his point across throughout the poem. In drawing these vivid and ironic pictures in our minds, Shelley explains that no one lives forever, and neither do their possessions. Shelley expresses this poem’s moral through a vivid and ironic picture: “On the pedestal of the statue, there are these words, ‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’”(10-11). However, all that surrounds the statue is a desert. This poem is written to express to us that possessions don’t mean immortality, the king who seemed to think that his kingdom would remain under his statue’s arrogant gaze forever, ironically teaches us this through his epitaph. Though in an opposite meaning than the king intended, “Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!” (11) becomes good advice because it comes to mean that despite all the power and might one acquires in the course of their life, material possessions will not last forever. In the end, the King’s works are nothing, and the lines inscribed on his statue are a sermon to those who read it. This poem is basically divided into two parts: the first eight lines and the last six lines. The first eight lines are describing an ancient decayed sculpture seen by a traveler. The last six lines however talk about the words on the pedestal and the desolate surroundings. He contrasts the great sculpture with the surrounding emptiness, which brings a stronger feeling to the poem. When Shelley writes about the “sneer of cold command” (5), you can imagine a very conceited, arrogant pharaoh, commanding his people building this great
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