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Transcript of Ozymandias
There are different voices in this poem that put some distance between us and Ozymandias. First there is the speaker of the poem, the man who meets the traveler from an "antique land." The speaker doesn't stay very long before the traveler starts his story, by which his voice occupies the remainder of the poem. We know nothing about this traveler; he could be a native of the "antique land" (1), a tourist who has visited it, or even a man who just stepped out of a time machine; anybody.
The majority of the poem consists of the traveler's description of the statue lying in the desert, except for the two lines in the middle where he tells us what the inscription on the statue says; and while the traveler speaks these lines, they really belong to Ozymandias, making him, in a sense, the third speaker in this polyphonic (many-voiced) poem. This shows how Ozymandias’s power reigned over his people; also, in many ways striking fear into them making him a “strong leader”.
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Olivia Bertram, Kaitlin Hall,
Bianca Paravano, Megan Stutler
Line 4: A synecdoche is used when the author uses the word "visage" to represent the statue's head. A synecdoche is when one part of any object describes an entire thing, object, or person.
Line 6-7: There are three words in lines six and seven that start with the letter "s". "Tell that its SCULPTOR well those passions read which yet SURVIVE, STAMPED on these lifeless things". The use of multiple words starting with the same letter is called alliteration.
Line 8: "Hand" is another example of synecdoche. The hand stands for the whole: the sculptor.
Line 13-14: The traveler calls our attention to the desert's bare disposition through the use of alliteration: "boundless and bare," "lone and level," "sands stretch."
The statue was a symbol of
Ozymandias's pride and power. The
fact that this once mighty statue is
now crumbled up, buried in the sand
implies that kingdoms and "absolute"
power will not last forever.
Problem & Solution
Lines 1-8 is the problem of the poem
Lines 9-14 is the solution of the poem
Problem- Ozymandias is a prideful king and "mocked" his kingdom.
Solution- Now Ozymandias is just a statue with nothing but legs(ruins) left. It is decaying and sand is covering it.
The speaker of the poem meets a traveler that describes his visit to a remote land where there was a destroyed stature of a leader of an ancient civilization. The statue portrayed the features of the ruler and on the pedestal, words were written describing his power, yet there was no other evidence of the ruler’s accomplishments or the civilization except for the crumbled ruins in the barren and endless desert.
Line 4: The head of the statue of Ozymandias is "shatter'd" and partially buried in the sand. This wording gives the reader an image of a destroyed/ruined statue forgotten in the sand. It helps the reader visualize what the poem will be discussing and inflicts sad feelings.
Line 6-7: The sculptor portrayed Ozymandias' "passions" in the statue extremely well. They are "stamp'd" (engraved) in the stone. Even though the crushed pieces of the statue are lifeless, they give life to the expressions and feelings that still survive. This gives the reader a sense of what Ozymandias's character was like when the statue was made.
Line 13: The poem again reminds us that there is a huge statue in the desert that is now a "colossal wreck." The reader also begins to think of reasons where the shattered statue came from and what it's significance was when it was first made. It wasn't just made to sit half buried in sand! This line gives food for thought.
The poem"Ozymandias” is a sonnet: a fourteen-line poem metered in iambic pentameter. The rhyme scheme is somewhat unusual for a sonnet of this era; it does not fit a conventional Petrarchan pattern, but instead interlinks the octave (the first eight lines of a sonnet) with the sestet (the last six lines), by gradually replacing old rhymes with new ones in the form ABABACDCEDEFEF.