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The Irony of Ozymandias
Percy Bysshe Shelley’s sonnet metered iambic pentameter, “Ozymandias,” contains three types of irony, which are used in combination to ultimately present the overall themes that are developed throughout the poem (PoemShape). The three different types of iron include: verbal, situational, and dramatic. Ozymandias refers to the ancient King of Egypt Rameses II, who is said to have been one of the most powerful Pharaohs in the history of Egypt. Shelley decided to write the poem once he heard of the finding of the ancient remnants, which belonged to this once great Egyptian civilization. The poem is essentially about a very powerful man, whose power was short lived as nature prevailed over man.
The beginning lines of the poem tell of a speaker that is told a story by a traveller that is visiting an “antique land”, which is ancient Egypt. The sand and desert gives a visual of the setting and country. The traveller describes the sighting of the “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone” that stand in the desert with a “half sunk” crumbling stone head lies near them in the sand. This paints a picture of a sculpture that has greatly decayed over a long time being exposed to harsh environmental elements. The large figure of Ozymandias is missing his face that is laying half buried in the sand near by. The detached head of Ozymandias has a “shattered visage” that indicates the king’s confused power. The “sneer of cold command” on the statue’s face tells of the sculptor’s understanding of the emotions or “passions” of the figure’s subject. The “sand” and “land” state the recurring power of nature itself in comparison to the supremacy of Ozymandias.
Shelley describes the “lifeless statue” to have the memory of these emotions “stamped” upon it, regardless of the fact that both the sculptor and his subject are both deceased. The words, “My name…...

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