Ozymandias – Unfamiliar Texts Prac Question

Ozymandias By Percy Shelley

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.



  1. Rhyme
  2. “Words appear….and despair!”
  3. Percy Shelley has used a number of ‘rhyme’ with every 2 lines. This is shown through “I met a traveller from an antique land” which then continues and the rhyme appears in the second line “Stand in the desert… near them, on the sand,” He does this, by showing how the character has got energy and enthusiasm for his own pride. Shelley also uses the language feature of Oxymoron, where he expressing two opposite words put together, to help express the ‘kings’ words. An example of this was what the king said about himself bring ” Ye mighty, and despair” He is expressing this to have an effect of those who he is speaking, to should feel sorry for him, he is selfish and he knows that because he is very overly confident in himself and believes that everyone should follow his lead.



Comparing texts:

The Poem by Shelley, Ozymandias, describes a traveller who once came across a statue in the sand. The statues facial appearance with its “wrinkled lip” and the fact that it gives off a “cold command”. This command helps show the observer its emotions and passions that it once had. It becomes an icon in itself and it gives off certain views of its past life, how it used to be “ye mighty, and despair!” As an icon, people look up to it and aspire to become it and try their best to achieve success in their life, likewise, what the statue once did.



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