Ozymandias Poetry Analysis

754 Words4 Pages
Death is unknown, death is feared, and death is letting go. Many poets, and many people have attempted to confront death. In Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “Ozymandias,” the speaker confronts death with a belief that it overpowers the most powerful people. The poem uses imagery to show how power is lost by Ozymandias after death. In John Donne’s “Death be not proud,” religion is used to overpower death. While both poems attempt to confront and control the inevitability of death, the poems differ in their ability to do so. In the poem “Ozymandias” the character of Ozymandias wants to confront and control death, but is ultimately unsuccessful in doing so. Ozymandias was a powerful Egyptian ruler, known as the “King of Kings” (Shelley 10), as it is written on the pedestal of his statue. In an attempt to live on after his death, and in a sense, control death, a sculptor created a “vast” (2) statue in his honour. However, the speaker implies Ozymandias’s power is gone as soon as he dies, for the statue is now “two vast and trunkless legs of…show more content…
While the sculptor has captured the ruler’s power and personality in the “sneer of cold command” (5) on Ozymandias’s face, this face is ultimately broken, symbolizing that his power is lost and he is no longer remembered, nor worshipped as he hoped to be after death. Moreover, not only is the statue shattered, the “colossal wreck” (13) is surrounded by nothing but “boundless and bare” (14) sands. This imagery shows that Ozymandias did not conquer anything after his death; his legacy does not live on. Rather, the speaker implies that his power, his kingdom and the tributes to his life cease to exist, and become meaningless. The imagery of the destroyed statue and the barren surroundings clearly indicate that Ozymandias is not living on after his physical death; death has indeed emerged

More about Ozymandias Poetry Analysis

Open Document