The poem "Ozymandias" is one of the best sonnets of Percy Bysshe Shelley. In this poem Shelley described a mighty king who was striving in his whole life for his possessions and got involved in worldly assignments so much that he forgot his ultimate destiny. Beside this, Shelley reminds the readers of their mortality through the realization that our earthly accomplishments, so important to us now, will one day be finished. By drawing these vivid and ironic pictures in readers minds, with different symbols, Shelley was trying to illustrate that no one lives forever in the
world, not even their assets or belongings.
Readers get a physical description of the statue of Ozymandias from line 2 until line 8. In line 2, the word "vast" is not as common as a tired word such as "big", and helps to describe the sheer monstrosity of the base of the statue of the great king Ozymandias. To simply have two "vast" legs, without the trunk, indicates how imposing the statue must have been when intact. Here Shelly tells that Ozymandias used to be a commanding and great king. According to line 4, Ozymandias' head, somewhat fragmented and laid to rot with the sands, is half sunk. Half sunk, yet clearly still able to stir deep emotional response with its "sneer of cold command" (line 5). Although the word "half" is not as impressive as "vast" and almost detracts from the imposing nature of the statue before its fall, it works in reverse to create inside the mind of the reader the notion that this huge stone head, half sunk and buried in the sand, is still large enough to grimace at the sky and curse at the passer-by who treads on his land. Another point Shelley might mean that it was big at the period of Ozymandias, but now it is not.
The non-physical attributes belonging to the departed Ozymandias have also been imparted after the mental image of two stone trees extending from the dunes, not far away from a head made meaner by erosion of sand and wind, has been established in the first eight lines. Shelley dwells little on the small details of Ozymandias' face, but by Ozymandias' frown, wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command, delivered in less than two lines, immediately carry to the reader a vision of a cold, callous, yet strong and determined leader who is commanding his people building his great vast statue hoping his power would be immortal. These concrete items are vital to the description, but are not as strong as what can not be seen. Shelley gives a nod to the talent of the sculptor, from whom Ozymandias received a mirror image of his personality, placed in stone because of his thinking to survive
forever as a mighty king.
The passions for power and command are chiselled into a face, but line...