The Hand That Mocked Them And The Heart That Fed

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wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The poet is saying that the stone facial expression showing the passions of Ozymandias has survived long after both the tyrant and the sculptor are gone.  The “hand that mocked them” (meaning the passions depicted on the shattered visage) is the sculptor’s hand – the sculptor was “mocking” the passions (with a play on the two meanings of the word “mocked” – “copied” them and “ridiculed” them); the “heart that fed them” is the heart of the ruthless tyrant himself, Ozymandias.  The sense of the poem is that the arrogance of the ruler, his belief that his kingdom and his accomplishments would be unsurpassable and immortal, are ironically mocked by the fact that his statue, the only remnant of his reign, lies destroyed in “the lone and level sands,” and that human life, whether cruelly destructive or constructively creative, is temporal.  The poem is also reflective of Shelley's own view of the transitory nature of his own poetry. 

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reetikajaiswal | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Honors

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This line is a mockery at the tyranny of the king who believed him to be supremely powerful. Ozymandias fed his heart with self importance and vanity. However, thanks to the sculptor, we find it easy to interpret that he was a fool who thought that he could overpower everything and everybody. Nobody could win over time.

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