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What are some figurative devices in the poem "Ozymandias"?

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maya20 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 2, 2010 at 7:57 AM via web

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What are some figurative devices in the poem "Ozymandias"?

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jmj616 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted November 2, 2010 at 10:52 AM (Answer #1)

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Percy Bysshe Shelley's classic poem, "Ozymandias," is remarkably lacking in figurative language such as simile, metaphor, hyperbole, or personification.

The descriptions of the ruined statue of Ozymandias use precise, literal language:

"two vast and trunkless legs of stone";
"half sunk, a shattered visage [face]";
"frown / And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command";
"the pedestal";
"the decay of that collosal wreck."

The final image of the poem could be considered a personification: "The lone and level sands stretch far away."  The sand is likened to a lonely person that "stretches."

The straightforward style in which this poem's images are delivered is part of what makes this ironic little story so memorable.

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