‘Ozymandias’ is a poem written by famed romantic era poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. As a poet, Shelley’s works were never truly recognized during his lifetime due to the extreme discomfort the generation had with his political radicalism, or his revolutionary ideology. It was only after his death that his works were further examined for the masterpieces they are and the way Shelley thought about revolutionary movements was finally revealed. The Romantic Era in England was a reaction to the stuffy, undemocratic, narrow-minded Enlightenment Era of the 1700s. Towards the end of the 1700s, people began to question the belief that their century was a ‘perfect era’ (as those ...view middle of the document...
“Vast and trunkless legs” depicts huge stone legs without the upper body attached, just the legs standing on the podium. “Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lie” tells of the head of the statue, laying half sunk into the sands of the desert and further “wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command” describes the expression on this immense fallen head. He uses the expression of the statue to explain the characteristics of the ruler the statue is depicting, and by any means describes a ruthless and powerful ruler. On a more emotional or deeper level he says;
“Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.”
This means that the characteristics of the man portrayed on the statue (ruthless and cold command) survive to Shelley’s day, during the revolution. He shows that these cold and mean characteristics belong to the ruler through the script on the pedestal;
“My name is Ozymandias, king of Kings:
Looks on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
This basically means that anyone that looks at this powerful statue should despair and praise their ruler, ‘Ozymandias’, the kings of kings. It just so happens, 'Ozymandias' is about Ramses II, the Egyptian pharaoh...