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Ozymandias

Ozymandias

by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Ozymandias Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Welcome to the land of symbols, imagery, and wordplay. Before you travel any further, please know that there may be some thorny academic terminology ahead. Never fear, Shmoop is here. Check out our...

Form and Meter

"Ozymandias" takes the form of a sonnet in iambic pentameter. A sonnet is a fourteen-line poem, whose ideal form is often attributed to the great Italian poet Petrarch. The Petrarchan sonnet is str...

Speaker

There are several different voices in this poem that put some distance between us and Ozymandias. First there is the speaker of the poem, you know the guy who meets the traveler from an "antique la...

Setting

This poem has several settings. It begins with a strange encounter between the speaker and a traveler from an "antique land" (1). We have no idea where this rendezvous takes place, which is very we...

Sound Check

"Ozymandias" sounds a lot like the conclusion of a Shakespearean tragedy; the final lines of the poem are especially reminiscent of something you might hear as the curtain is about to fall at the e...

What's Up with the Title?

"Ozymandias" is an ancient Greek name for Ramses II of Egypt. It is actually a Greek version of the Egyptian phrase "User-maat-Re," one of Ramses's Egyptian names. Why not just call the poem "User-...

Calling Card

Shelley loved to write really long sentences, and this poem is no exception. The second complete sentence, which begins in line 3, is a good example. The sentence has a lot of separate clauses that...

Tough-O-Meter

"Ozymandias" is a relatively straightforward poem; there aren't many strange words, except for "mock'd." At times the syntax can be a little tricky; for example, the first eight lines are two sente...

Brain Snacks

Sex Rating

This poem doesn't really have much to do with sex.

Shout Outs

Diodorus Siculus, Historical Library Book 1, Chapter 4 (Lines 10-11)Ozymandias, a.k.a. Ramses II of Egypt (Lines 10-11)

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