Kings of Power: Ozymandias vs. Viva la Vida

Kings of Power: Ozymandias vs. Viva la Vida

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When comparing and contrasting “Ozymandias”, written by Percy Bysshe Shelley and “Viva La Vida” by Coldplay, there is a strong contrast between the two. Ozymandias is a poem about a long-forgotten king who once had mighty power over his people, where as “Viva La Vida” is about a king who was overthrown. However, the similarities between the song and poem are astonishing. “Ozymandias” is similar to “Viva La Vida”because both texts mention a rockpile built upon sand for a king; because both texts show that the citizens are enemies of the king; and because they are both about a king who has lost his power.
“Ozymandias” is similar to “Viva La Vida” because they both mention a rockpile built upon sand for a king. For example, in “Ozymandias”, the traveler said, “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone /Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand, /Half sunk, a shattered visage lies” (2-4). This means that the visage, or face, is built on unlevel ground: sand. In “Viva La VIda”, the singer mentions, “ [He] discovered that his castles stand/ Upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand” ( 3, 3-4), meaning that the king’s castle is built upon sand; an unsturdy foundation for a castle. Both the visage and the castle are built on unsteady grounds of sand. Therefore, Ozymandias” and “Viva La Vida” are similar because they both mention rockpiles built on sand for a king.
“Ozymandias” is similar to “Viva La Vida” because both the song and poem are about a king who was once hated by his own people. For example, in “Ozymandias”, the traveler speaking to the main character of the poem says, “ Tell that its sculptor well those passions read/ Which yet survive, stamped on [the stone monuments]/ The hand that mocked them”( 7-8), meaning that the sculptor of the king’s monument has ridiculed the king’s passions; the sculptor disapproves of the king and is then considered an enemy of the king. In the song “Viva La Vida”, the singer states, “ Revolutionaries wait/ for my head on a silver plate”( 7, 1-2), which means that the exiled king is wanted dead from his own previous citizens — this then proves that his citizens are his enemies. Therefore, because the king in “Ozymandias” is mocked and is disapproved by his sculptor, and because the king in “Viva La Vida” is being hunted down by his own people, both the song and poem are considered as similar texts.

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“Ozymandias” is similar to “Viva La Vida” because they both show a king’s loss of power. For example, in “Ozymandias”, the tourist mentions, “ … stamped on these [ancient monuments], ‘ [The king is] Ozymandias, King of Kings:/ Look on [ the king’s] works, ye Mighty and despair!’/ Nothing beside remains”( 10-12), which means that the king’s power,and the king’s life, is long gone and no longer exists. Another example of a king’s loss of power is in “Viva La Vida”, when the singer says, “ I used to rule the world...Listen as the crowd would sing/ ‘Now the old king is dead! Long live the king’” ( 1, 1; 2, 4), meaning that the king has lost his power to another king. Therefore, the two texts are similar because the king in “Ozymandias” lost his power due to his death, and the king in “Viva La Vida” lost his power to another person who took his throne.
In conclusion, Ozymandias” and “Viva La Vida” are considered as similar texts. “Ozymandias” and “Viva La Vida” are considered similar because they are both about a king who was once hated by his own people, and because both texts mention a rockpile built upon sand for a king. Most importantly, “Ozymandias” and “Viva La Vida” are similar texts because they are both about a king who has lost his power. Readers learn from both of these texts that no matter how powerful a king is, their power will die along with them; that mortal power, though remembered, is only as strong as the mortal. Basically, readers learn that these two texts, with all their similarities, few differences, and morality taught, are considered comparative texts.

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