Percy Shelley Ozymandias Essay

Percy Shelley Ozymandias Essay-89
’) is fulfilled, but not in the way he would chosen: his statue causes other rulers to despair not because of his unrivalled achievements, but because it reminds them that they will share his inevitable fate.

’) is fulfilled, but not in the way he would chosen: his statue causes other rulers to despair not because of his unrivalled achievements, but because it reminds them that they will share his inevitable fate.‘Ozymandias’ received no special comment or critical notice when it was first published, but with its ringing phrases and striking imagery it has since found its way into popular culture to the extent that the name ‘Ozymandias’ immediately brings to mind the inevitable fate of the powerful.‘Didactic poetry is my abhorrence’, Shelley wrote in the preface to (1820), ‘nothing can be well expressed in prose that is not tedious and supererogatory in verse.’ Horace Smith’s sonnet on Ozymandias draws clear parallels between the rulers of ancient Egypt and the European monarchs of his own day, and concludes by imagining the annihilation of Regency London and its discovery by some future traveller.

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Ramses II was a military conqueror and a great builder, but Shelley’s sonnet illustrates how the achievements of even the mightiest tyrants are obliterated by time.

All that is left of this once all-powerful figure is a ruined statue in a lonely desert: ‘Nothing beside remains.

Most recently, the poem was a presence in the final episodes of the acclaimed American television series , which charted the rise and fall of a ruthless drug lord.

One of the most powerful episodes is called ‘Ozymandias’, and in the trailer to the series the protagonist reads the poem in full over a shot of the desert of New Mexico.

‘Ozymandias’ is one of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s best-known and most accessible poems.

It was written sometime between December 1817 and January 1818, and was probably the result of a sonnet competition between Shelley and his friend Horace Smith, who stayed with the Shelleys at their home Marlow between 26 and 28 December.

In any case, ‘Ozymandias’ is primarily a product of Shelley’s imagination, not an attempt at historical reconstruction, and there are a number of differences between the sonnet and the description in Diodorus.

The figure is standing, not sitting, and is to be found in a desert rather than a temple entrance.

Thanks to art, only the Pharaoh's arrogant passions, as expressed in the ruined statue, have survived, outliving both the sculptor (‘The hand that mocked them') and Ramses himself ('the heart that fed'), whose many monuments have reverted to 'The lone and level sands'.

With a fine irony, Ozymandias’s proud boast to other rulers that he has no rivals (‘Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!

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