Analysis "Ozymandias" by Percy Bysshe Shelley

The title of the poem looks like it is going to be about someone who was important once upon a time.


The writer met a traveler who saw the powerful pharaoh Ozymandias or he saw his statue. The traveler tells the writer that the statue was all in pieces in the sand in the middle of the desert. Ozymandias was a great and powerful king but nothing left from him and his empire anymore.


Metaphor: the statue represents that Ozymandias once a powerful, mighty king.

However the statue is also in pieces in the sand, so it represents that no matter who you are, no one can defeat the merciless time. One day you will die and disappear from the world. Personification: in the fifth line, wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command’ refer to the statue like it is alive and it was a real person once. Imagery: it helps the reader to visualize what is told. And the writer used many of imagery.

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For example, Two vast and trunkless legs of stone’, wrinkled lips’, shattered face’.Alliteration: boundless and bare’ and lone and level sand’.

Irony: the poem is all in irony. The description of Ozymandias tells that he is a mighty, powerful and great king, however, there is nothing left of him but just a broken and half sank statue.Tone:the poem has an ironic tone. The writer says Ozymandias was a great king and he still writes as if he is alive and can rule again.

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However, it is just a statue and it half sinks in the sand. Shift: there are two shifts in the poem. The first one is the poem begins with the writer’s words but then it continues with the traveler’s words until the end of the poem. The second one is the traveler vocalizes Ozymandias’ words My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!’.

The title named as the king Ozymandias, the poem was about a king called Ozymandias who was once great and powerful and said his works would remain after him but now there is nothing left except for his broken and half sank statue. Because time is inevitable and no matter what we do, one day we will be forgotten.

Theme: the theme of the poetry is transient of manpower and greatness, and although we all hope to somehow make a mark on the world, nothing lasts forever, even the great empires. Nothing can defeat time.

It is actually Sonnet 18′ but if we consider as Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?’, we can understand that this poem is going to be about someone that the writer adores and it is possible that he compares that person’s beauty to a summer day. Paraphrase: Writer tells that beloved person is more beautiful than a summer day. If we consider a summer day, it is sunny, weather is hot, and the nature is all green. The person is more lovely than a summer day. He admires a woman and says that her beauty will never fade and that she will live on the page of this poem with his love. Thus, his love for her is eternal.


Metaphor: in the first line Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?’ is a metaphor that goes through the whole poem. Also, but thy eternal summer shall not fade’ is a metaphor and it tells that this person will always be young to him and has a everlasting glow and vitality. Symbolism: Summer’ is a symbol for youth and the eye of heaven’ is a symbol for the sun. Personification: death’. He tells that death will never claim his lover and they will never die but live in his heart. Also he says that his lover will live in this poem, she will remain immortal on the page. Tone: the tone of this poem is the love and passion for someone. Throughout the poem, Shakespeare tells that his lover’s beauty is more than a summer’s day. He really admires his lover and tells that his love and her beauty will remain immortal. Shift: in the 9th line, he goes from telling about the temporary beauty of summer to the timeless beauty of the person.

Title: it is actually known as sonnet 18′ but is we consider the title as Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day’, this poem is about a person who passionately loves and admires his lover and his love will be eternal through this poem. As long as this poem exists, his love and her beauty will remain everlasting. Theme: Beauty will eventually fade away except in the eyes of someone who really loves you.

It is sonnet 10′ of Shakespeare but if we take the first line as the title, it is going to be about someone that loves no one or hurts the writer’s feeling. Paraphrase: it tells that shame on you who can not love anyone. Though you are loved by many people. But those people’s love does not mean anything to you. And you are full of hate (maybe it is because of her arrogance) and that if you change my mind about you, beauty may live in my heart.

It may be about an important decision or a choice that the writer have to make. Either he is struggling to choose to do something or not to do it, beause it can effect his life later.


Metaphor: The road’ is a metaphor for life, it represents our life and as we live the choices that we come across in our lives. Yellow woods’ is a metaphor for making decisions. And travel’ is a metaphor for our lives. We are like travelers for this world. These metaphors emphasizes the decisions that we have to make through our lives and their impact. Imagery: the writer used images like leaves and yellow woods and they help reader to visualize what is being told.

Personification: he personified the road saying Because it was grassy and wanted wear’ as if the road is a person and wants something from him. Tone: the tone of this poem is metaphorical and serious. The writer has to make decision and he metaphorically tells about the decision as he was walking down in the forest and come across to two road and now he is not sure which road to continue. Because these roads or we can say choices- will effect his life. Shift: the writer makes a decision to choose one of the road and with the thought of choosing the other road for another day.

The road not taken’ is about a decision that everybody faces in their lives and it has an very important affect, because you choose a path but maybe the other path that you do not choose is better but you cannot know it, because sometimes there is no turning back from what you have decided. Theme: the theme of this poem is that we all have to make some decisions in life and we should consider wisely before choosing and face the consequences confidently.

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Analysis "Ozymandias" by Percy Bysshe Shelley. (2020, May 04). Retrieved from

Analysis "Ozymandias" by Percy Bysshe Shelley

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