Ozymandias Essay

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1. What kind of man was the Pharaoh Ozymandias, do you think? Quote from the poem to substantiate your answer. I think that Pharaoh Ozymandias was a strong and powerful ruler in this “ancient land” that the traveler refers to. The phrase “sneer of cold command” suggests he was a dictator and ruled with fear and not well liked by the people he ruled over. In line 11, the plural is used for the word “works”, this suggesting that the king must have had plenty, so thus very wealthy. He also is portrayed at being very arrogant and vain in line 11 “Look at my works, ye mighty, and despair!” where is boasting about his works and telling everyone to look at them and see how mighty he is. Although the inscription at the foot of the statue reveals to us who this poem is about, it also shows his idea of his own power calling himself “king of kings”. 2. The poet takes great care to describe, in lines 4 and 5, the ‘passions’ of Ozymandias that are ‘stamped on these lifeless things’ (line 7). What is the effect of the juxtaposition of ‘passions’ and ‘lifeless’? What is Shelley suggesting about human ambition? The passions of Ozymandias that are described in lines 4 and 5 “frown, wrinkled lip and sneer” show the type of leader he was that put fear into those he ruled and looked at his subjects as if they were unworthy. And then the use of the phase “stamped on these lifeless things” is saying that those passions is all that is left behind on the statue. The juxtaposition here is that passions suggests life and lifeless suggests death. What the poet is suggesting about human ambition is that Ozymandias ruled with fear and now that that fear is gone the ruler is forgotten. It suggests that the legacy you leave behind should be more than those “passions”. 3. The ‘hand’ and the ‘heart’ (line 8) are, of course, the hand and heart of the sculptor, not Ozymandias.

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