A Short Analysis of Shelley’s ‘Ozymandias’
a timely analysis!
An introduction to one of Percy Shelley’s most famous poems
Published in The Examiner on 11 January 1818, ‘Ozymandias’ is perhaps Percy Bysshe Shelley’s most celebrated and best-known poem. Given its status as a great poem, a few words by way of analysis might help to elucidate some of its features and effects, as well as its meaning – what exactly is Shelley saying about great empires and civilisations?
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:
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