“Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley

“Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley 

"Ozymandias" is a sonnet written by Percy Bysshe Shelley and first published in 1818. The poem explores themes of time, power, and the transient nature of human accomplishments. In just fourteen lines, Shelley paints a vivid picture of a fallen empire, emphasizing the impermanence of worldly glory.

“Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley“Ozymandias”-The poem begins with the speaker describing a meeting with a traveler who tells him about a colossal statue in the desert. 

“Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley

“Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley“Ozymandias”-The statue depicts a once mighty king named Ozymandias, who ruled over a vast empire. The traveler describes the statue as having a face that expresses a cold and arrogant sneer, capturing the king's tyrannical nature. The statue's sculptor was incredibly skilled, as evident in the artistry and attention to detail.

However, the passage of time has taken its toll on the statue and the surrounding landscape. The once-majestic empire has crumbled, and the statue now lies broken and half-buried in the sand. The inscription on the pedestal reads, "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"

Also Read-

“Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley“Ozymandias”-Despite the grandiosity of the inscription, the surrounding area is empty and devoid of any signs of the empire's former glory. Nature has reclaimed the land, rendering the king's once great achievements insignificant. The arrogance and pride that Ozymandias once embodied are now reduced to nothingness.

The traveler's story serves as a reflection on the fleeting nature of power and the inevitable decline of all empires. Ozymandias, who once believed his works would inspire awe and fear in future generations, is now forgotten and his empire reduced to ruins. The irony of the situation is palpable, as the inscription's command to "look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair" is met with a vast and desolate landscape.

“Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley“Ozymandias”-The central theme of the poem is the transient nature of human accomplishments. Shelley uses vivid language and powerful imagery to underscore this idea. The shattered statue symbolizes the ultimate futility of power and serves as a cautionary tale against excessive pride and the illusion of permanence.

Furthermore, the poem can be interpreted as a commentary on the cyclical nature of history. Empires rise and fall, and no matter how grand they may seem in their prime, they are ultimately subject to the forces of time. The ruins of Ozymandias's empire are a reminder that no civilization can defy the march of time forever.

Ozymandias Poem

I met a traveller from an antique land

Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Stand in the desert . . . Near them, on the sand,

Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,

And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:

And on the pedestal these words appear:

‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away.”


Percy Bysshe Shelley's "Ozymandias" is a timeless masterpiece that continues to resonate with readers today. The poem's succinctness and powerful imagery make it a poignant exploration of the transient nature of power and human accomplishments. Through the broken statue of Ozymandias, Shelley reminds us that no matter how great and mighty an empire may be, it is ultimately destined to crumble and fade away.

“Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley“Ozymandias”-The poem serves as a cautionary tale against excessive pride and hubris, urging readers to recognize the limits of human achievements and the ephemeral nature of glory. It prompts us to reflect on the importance of humility and the fleeting nature of power, encouraging us to find meaning in more enduring aspects of life, such as love, compassion, and the pursuit of knowledge.

"Ozymandias" reminds us that time is an unstoppable force that erodes even the most imposing structures and empires. It invites us to contemplate the impermanence of our own existence and the significance of our actions in the grand scheme of things. Through its timeless message, the poem serves as a reminder of the inherent fragility and transience of human life.

“Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley“Ozymandias”-Ultimately, "Ozymandias" stands as a testament to the enduring power of poetry to provoke thought and reflection. It reminds us that the true measure of greatness lies not in temporal achievements, but in the legacies we leave behind and the impact we have on others. 

The poem's enduring relevance and universal themes make it a literary masterpiece that continues to captivate and inspire readers, inviting us to ponder our place in the vast sweep of history and the impermanence of all things.


Q. Who is the author of "Ozymandias"?

Ans. The author of "Ozymandias" is Percy Bysshe Shelley, one of the prominent Romantic poets of the 19th century.

Q. What is the meaning of the word "Ozymandias"?

Ans. "Ozymandias" is a Greek name commonly associated with the Egyptian pharaoh Ramesses II. It is derived from a Greek transliteration of Ramesses' throne name, User-maat-re Setep-en-re, which means "The justice of Ra is powerful, chosen of Ra."

Q. What is the theme of "Ozymandias"?

Ans. The main themes in "Ozymandias" include the transient nature of power and human accomplishments, the inevitability of time's passage, the folly of excessive pride and arrogance, and the cyclical nature of history.

Q. When was "Ozymandias" published?

Ans. "Ozymandias" was first published in 1818 as part of a collection titled "The Examiner."



Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.