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Transcript of Ozymandias
Can you leave a mark?
Form of the poem
metaphor and alliteration
who the poem was written for
Shelley was married to wife Mary (author of Frankenstein) and was fascinated with the treasures found during Napoleon’s conquest of Egypt in 1798. "The power of pharaonic Egypt had seemed eternal, but now this once-great empire was (and had long been) in ruins, a feeble shadow."
"Ozymandias, more commonly known as Rameses II (possibly the pharaoh referred to in the Book of Exodus). Diodorus reports the inscription on the statue, which he claims was the largest in Egypt, as follows: “King of Kings Ozymandias am I. If any want to know how great I am and where I lie, let him outdo me in my work.” (The statue and its inscription do not survive, and were not seen by Shelley; his inspiration for “Ozymandias” was verbal rather than visual.)
Stimulated by their conversation, Smith and Shelley wrote sonnets based on the passage in Diodorus. Smith produced a now-forgotten poem with the unfortunate title “On a Stupendous Leg of Granite, Discovered Standing by Itself in the Deserts of Egypt, with the Inscription Inserted Below.” Shelley’s contribution was “Ozymandias,” one of the best-known sonnets in European literature."
The Poetry Foundation
I - personal pronoun functions to frame
Size emphasized - intention - built to last
Half sunk - the desert swallows everything
Shattered face - the memory will die
The expression suggests arrogance - the poet seems to be making a comment about autocratic rulers
The sculptor read his traits and realised them accurately - mocked is neutral then = described
heart that fed - the Pharoah is arrogant and assume he is immortal. His heart (ego perhaps) feeds off of his subjects.
also, the artist is fed by his art
ironic inscription - he is laid to waste - decay, colossal wreck
"Ozymandias" is a sonnet in iambic pentameter. It is a mix of the Petrarchan/Italian Sonnet and the Shakespearean Sonnet.
fourteen-line poem attributed to the great Italian poet Petrarch.
It has an octave (8 lines) and a sestet (6 lines).
The octave often proposes a concern that the sestet resolves.
The first line of the sestet marks the change in direction of the poem - the "turn" (the volta).
Rhyme scheme of the octave: ABBA ABBA
Rhyme scheme of the sestet is more flexible; two of the most common are CDCDCD and CDECDE.
The Shakespearean or English sonnet has fourteen lines too, but is structured as a series of three quatrains (of four lines each) and a concluding couplet (consisting of two consecutive rhyming lines). The Shakespearean sonnet is in iambic pentameter and follows the rhyme scheme ABAB CDCD EFEF GG.
Shelley's sonnet is a strange mixture of these two forms. It is Petrarchan in that the poem is structured as a group of eight lines (octave) and a group of six lines (the sestet). The rhyme scheme is initially Shakespearean, as the first four lines rhyme ABAB. But then the poem gets strange: at lines 5-8 the rhyme scheme is ACDC, rather than the expected CDCD. For lines 9-12, the rhyme scheme is EDEF, rather than EFEF. Finally, instead of a concluding couplet we get another EF group. The entire rhyme scheme can be schematized as follows: ABABACDCEDEFEF.