Level 1

Percy Shelley - 'Ozymandias'


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Two vast and trunkless legs of stone / Stand in the desert
Shelley's constrasting adjectives characterise the former grandeur of the figure reduced by time and conflict
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies
The powerfully emotive adjective "shattered" forcefully create a sense of destruction
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: / Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
The declaration from the pedestal (base of the statue) demanding respect is bluntly contrasted with the broken form and emptiness to follow. There are no "works" left.
king of kings
Shelley's subtle reference to a phrase found in the Christian Bible to describe God warns mortals of the dangers of thinking themselves greater than they are. Pride and power only last as long as life.
Nothing beside remains.
The short, declarative sentence forces us to accept that even the mightiest figure can be reduced to "Nothing". Shelley uses this statement to warn the powerful to use their time well. The sentence is cut short just like the life of Ozymandias.
Round the decay / Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare / The lone and level sands stretch far away.
Enjambment (sense running over three lines, here) adds vastness (huge size) to the emptiness around the broken statue. Multiple negative adjectives enhance his isolation and desolation even further.
Level 2