Compare the ways the poets explore the ideas about control in ‘The River God’ and in Ozymandias.
Both poems ‘The River God’ and ‘Ozymandias’ feature a character whom struggles with their sense and recognition of power. Ozymandias is narrated second-hand and introduces us to a past king, a very worthy and powerful position, yet the indirect voice highlights his distance and undermines his sense of power. In The River God we learn how the narrator feels unappreciated and viewed as weak in his growing age, so much so that he feels the need to embellish his strengths by enduring his great physical powers.
The nature and harsh strength of Ozymandias’ rule is conveyed through the writers use of alliteration and cruel and bitter vocabulary; through the quotations ‘sneer of cold command’ and ‘the hand that mock’d them and the heart that fed’ we can establish that Ozymandias was a tyrant, and abused his position to gain power despite the welfare of his people. The metaphoric phrase ‘the heart that fed’ creates an image of a cruel and purely evil man who is filled with antagonism and highly powerful. However this idea is juxtaposed throughout the end of the poem, and the irony is highlighted by the inscription on the pedestal ‘My name is Oxymandias, king of kings!: look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’ the arrogant King is no longer significant as that era is over, now only nature remains, slowly removing any evidence of their existence. The language furthers helps to display the destruction and decay of his work, the alliteration of ‘boundless and bare’ and ‘lone and level’ puts emphasis on the empty wasteland, and the power of nature.
In contrast the protagonist of ‘The River God’ is not viewed as such a ruling figure, instead a much weaker and often ignored member of society is presented throughout the first line ‘I may be smelly and I may be old’. Despite this though, it is clear the character believes he has simply been misunderstood, and that he...