Homework Help

How does the poem "Ozymandias" describe the power and might portrayed by the statue?

user profile pic

gracie26 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 29, 2012 at 6:50 PM via web

dislike 1 like

How does the poem "Ozymandias" describe the power and might portrayed by the statue?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 30, 2012 at 12:32 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

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.

Sources:

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes