How Is Power Presented In Ozymandias

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stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The first thing to understand is how completely the desert sands are able to engulf and hide something like broken pieces of a statue. The ruins of the statue of Ozymandias must have been huge for them to remain uncovered, as is confirmed when the poem refers to "two vast and trunkless legs." The mere size of the original statue, therefore, is a first clue to the might and power of the person portrayed.

The expressiveness of the carving gives further indication of the subject's character. Reference to the "shattered visage" tells us that the face of the statue was badly broken. Even in pieces, however, the "traveler" who saw the remains observed a "frown, and wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command." The sculptor apparently was able to convey the attitude of Ozymandias through facial expression that survived even being broken and weathered in the desert.

Finally, the quote from Ozymandias himself states his position toward any who might challenge his power, prestige, and might. "Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!" is not the comment of a ruler interested in peaceful coexistence with neighboring nations.


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