© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.



by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Ozymandias Theme of Pride

In the inscription on the pedestal Ozymandias calls himself the "king of kings" while also implying that his "works" – works of art like the statue, pyramids, that sort of thing – are the best around (10). Ozymandias thinks pretty highly of himself and of what he's achieved, both politically and artistically. The fact that he commissions this "colossal" statue with "vast legs" points to his sense of pride, while the statue's fragmentary state indicates the emptiness (at least in the long term) of Ozymandias's boast.

Questions About Pride

  1. The statue in the poem sounds like a really cool work of art; isn't it to be expected that Ozymandias would take pride in such an artistic wonder?
  2. Is there any indication that the sculptor takes pride in his work?
  3. If Ozymandias was pharaoh during a particularly prosperous period of Egyptian history, is it at all possible that he really was the "king of kings"(10)? Could he have been better than any other king around?
  4. Does the poem suggest that pride in itself is bad? Or is it just bad when indulged in by a tyrant like Ozymandias?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Ozymandias's proud statement that he is the "king of kings" aligns him with a number of power-hungry villains, like the Biblical Satan, or even Sauron from Lord of the Rings.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...