Summary of the Poem:
Ozymandias is a sonnet (a fourteen-line poem whose first eight lines make an octave and the remaining six lines create a sestet).
It’s about a ruined statue that has deteriorated through time, and we may link it to Shakespeare’s sonnet ‘Not marble, nor golden monuments.’
The name ‘Ozymandias’ comes from the Egyptian king Ramesses’ throne name. His stupid wish to immortalize himself by creating a statue is discussed in the poem.
The poet meets someone who has visited an old site in Egypt’s deserts. He tells the poet about the damaged statue of Ozymandias, the great and mighty king. With time, it had been obliterated.
The upper part of the torso was not to be seen, and only the two legs stood on a platform. The statue’s face was buried in the sand. He acknowledges the artist’s talent for accurately replicating even the tiniest gestures and flaws.
Ozymandias’ pride and arrogance are reflected in the engraving on the platform. Because the monument has been demolished, the engraving is a mockery of the king’s vanity and ego.
After several centuries, there is now no evidence of the king’s achievements in the vast stretch of the desert.
Stanza wise Explanation:
A traveler from a faraway land was introduced to the poet. He said he saw the remnants of a statue in the desert and informed the poet about it. Two massive stone legs stood while the rest of the statue — the upper torso – was missing. Another section of the monument, the face, was lying close in the sand. It was shattered and shattered into fragments. The statue’s visage was filled with discontent and a teasing smirk. There were also creases and lines on the face. According to the poet, the sculptor who created the statue had a good understanding of the Egyptian monarch Ramesses’ facial expressions since he was able to duplicate them onto his statue correctly. Through this lifeless statue, these expressions remained to persist even after the king’s death. The sculptor’s hands copied the king’s ruthless emotions, while the king’s stone heart drew these expressions out of his face.
On the base of the statue were etched the lines “My name is Ozymandias, monarch of kings: Look at my handiwork, ye Mighty, and despair!”. Ozymandias, the most powerful ruler, was the king’s introduction. He told all the world’s powerful rulers to stare at his massive statue and feel small in his presence, the most powerful king. According to the poet, there is now nothing left but this engraving. Over time, the statue deteriorated, and its fragmented pieces were strewn about. The expansive desert surrounded them and seemed to go on forever. The statue of Ozymandias, the renowned king, was nowhere to be found.
Ques: “The heart that fed them, and the hand that insulted them.” In this passage, whose hand and heart is the poet referring to?
Answer: The hand referred to in this passage is the hand of the sculptor who created the statue. He has created an exact facsimile of the king’s face by copying the precise expressions on his face. The heart alludes to King Ozymandias’ heart, which is the source of these outbursts of rage, wrath, and pride.
Ques: Which comment reveals what kind of king Ozymandias was?
Answer: “My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings,” says Ozymandias. Ozymandias refers to himself as King of Kings for a reason. Ozymandias was tremendously proud of his power, position, and grandeur, as seen by this verse. He thought of himself as the most powerful of all kings, indicating that he was conceited and arrogant.
Ques: Bring the poem’s irony to life.
Answer: The poet emphasizes that great rulers are short-sighted due to their pride and hyperbole. They forget that nothing is permanent in this life in their haste to build renown and name for all time.
The all-pervasive time has damaged the massive statue created by King Ozymandias in order to prove his glory for all time. The lines “Look upon my works, ye great and despair” etched on the platform of his statue are ironic. Today, no such outstanding work can be found in the vicinity.
The strewn fragments of his statue may be found all around this platform. The inscription on the massive pedestal, with his two legs standing on top and his face partially buried in sand, mocks his claim to be the most powerful king in the world.
Ques: What is the message expressed by this poem?
Answer: The poet wants us to understand that we are mortals who only live briefly in this world. We should not attempt to immortalize ourselves by erecting massive sculptures and memorials. These events are also timed because time is the destroyer of all things.
The arrogance and conceit that come with these achievements make it impossible for us to remain good people. So, rather than pursuing unending fame and fortune, we should strive to live a humble and generous life. This outlook on life gives our lives meaning, and we are recognized for our charitable works rather than the pomp and ceremony.