The Message of Carpe Diem in Ozymandias
Watching the clock on the wall? Cannot seem to wait until class is over? Perhaps you should slow down and enjoy the present. Ozymandias learns a harsh lesson on enjoying time. "Ozymandias" is a poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley where the king of kings, Ozymandias, learns that time is to be lived in the present and when it is gone there is no way of getting it back.
At the beginning of this poem Shelley writes of a narrator telling about an encounter with a man from an antique land. "I met a traveller from an antique land" this already puts you in a frame of time. By starting with "I" as in present tense, but then takes a step backwards in time by introducing a traveller from the past. It is obvious that the traveller is an older person because of the word "antique" in his description. The whole first line of the poem gives a time change from present to past.
After this time change the traveller immediately talks about his past experience taking the text back even further. His story is about a sculpture of Ozymandias the apparent king at that particular time in history. The inscription on the sculpture reads:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
the inscription holds special meaning after reading the eight lines before it is presented.
Those eight lines give a description of a sculpture that has been wore down by time. It is now only "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone... Half sunk, a shattered visage lies." The words at the end of the inscription now have a special meaning. The king of kings is no longer as mighty and his works are only done in vain. The sculptor has the insight to know that in time that his work will be destroyed and returned to sand. The traveller describes the inscription as being inscribed with a hand that mocked them. Knowing that the sculptor made the inscription at the kings request it tells that the sculptor was very aware that his mighty works would be something to morn over in the future.
Now Shelley has a very unique way of painting the picture of...