The poem "Ozymandias" is one of the best sonnets of Percy Bysshe Shelley. In this poem Shelley described a mighty king who was striving in his whole life for his possessions and got involved in worldly assignments so much that he forgot his ultimate destiny. Beside this, Shelley reminds the readers of their mortality through the realization that our earthly accomplishments, so important to us now, will one day be finished. By drawing these vivid and ironic pictures in readers minds, with different symbols, Shelley was trying to illustrate that no one lives forever in the
world, not even their assets or belongings.
Readers get a physical description of the statue of Ozymandias from line 2 until line 8. In line 2, the word "vast" is not as common as a tired word such as "big", and helps to describe the sheer monstrosity of the base of the statue of the great king Ozymandias. To simply have two "vast" legs, without the trunk, indicates how imposing the statue must have been when intact. Here Shelly tells that Ozymandias used to be a commanding and great king. According to line 4, Ozymandias' head, somewhat fragmented and laid to rot with the sands, is half sunk. Half sunk, yet clearly still able to stir deep emotional response with its "sneer of cold command" (line 5). Although the word "half" is not as impressive as "vast" and almost detracts from the imposing nature of the statue before its fall, it works in reverse to create inside the mind of the reader the notion that this huge stone head, half sunk and buried in the sand, is still large enough to grimace at the sky and curse at the passer-by who treads on his land. Another point Shelley might mean that it was big at ...
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... What pride, what arrogance, and what kind of (apparently) falsely heightened sense of self-worth did the vast and trunkless legs of stone once support? The answer comes straight from Shelley: "the lone and level sands stretch far away, boundless and bare; encircling the entirety of a lifeless wreck, nothing beside remains." This is the kingdom of Ozymandias like a playground bully with the rug pulled out from under him years after his defeat.
Shelley, with careful as well as perfect symbolization, created a mighty ruler whose hand carefully and strictly managed and governed an unknown, invisible, and dead nation thinking that he would be able to reign forever avoiding his mortality. But death closes all doors and nothing in this world lasts forever and Shelley showed that the mighty ruler also had to die one day leaving his possessions for what he was striving.
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