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The reader might have a hard time guessing the identity of Ozymandias or think that the self-proclaimed "king of kings" is an imaginary character dreamed up by Shelley. He was, however, a well known historical figure--Ramses II, one of the more powerful pharoahs of ancient Egypt. An enthusiastic builder of monuments, Ramses II is the ideal subject for Shelley's poem. Shelley opts to use the more melodius, classical Greek version of Ramses II name, which means ruler of the air. The statue is currently in the British Museum, and it is interesting to compare it with Shelley's description of the tyrant's "visage."
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