Examples Of Hubris In Ozymandias

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“Know then thyself, presume not God to scan, the proper study of mankind is Man”(1-2) writes Alexander Pope in his metaphysical poem, An Essay on Man, where he mainly argues that man should not pry into God’s affairs but rather study himself, especially his nature, powers, limits, and frailties. According to Pope, mankind, being between God and beast, continuously seeks and hovers about profound, fundamental truth of itself. Converse to Pope’s idea, the arrogant king Ozymandias, featured in Percy B. Shelly’s poem “Ozymandias” ultimately shows the king’s extreme self-confidence, hubris. Both Pope and Shelly show mankind’s incorrigible fate and hubris, which will eventually lead to mortality and trivial ending. Furthermore, through the modern example, Steve Jobs, one can see that hubristic action exists in these days. Primarily, Alexander Pope explicates true human’s existence to reinforce the idea that human cannot fully comprehend God. ”Know then thyself,” declarer Pope, giving…show more content…
By explicitly declaring “My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair”, the king is even presenting his superiority over other “mighty” kings (10-11). However, consequently, the statue fell down and placed in “two vast and trunkless legs of stone stand in the desert”(2-3). Shelly amplifies the decay of king Ozymandias, which symbolizes human’s mortality, that nothing, even tremendous hubris, can withstand the power of nature by using situational irony — the hubristic king’s words and a statue that “nothing beside remains: round the decay of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare, the lone and level sands stretch far away”(12-14). The contrast between such a supercilious attitude and the statue’s desolate surroundings even elicits sympathy toward the king who is already gone and only left with
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