Compare how both poets present their main subject in "Sonnet 130" and "Ozymandias."
Shakespeare's "Sonnet 130" and Shelley's "Ozymandias" deal with different subjects, yet use a similar conceit to convey their themes.
"Sonnet 130" is a romantic ode, and the subject is the beauty of the speaker's paramour. The opening line, "My mistress' eyes," begins the description, and the rest of the poem is a list of subsequent attributes. Ozymandias, on the other hand, is political in nature. The speaker recounts the description of a statue he heard about while traveling; it is the fallen statue of a king with an intimidating epigraph.
The conceit or primary literary device of both poems is a central image: a human idol. Shelley presents his statue in the form of a literary postcard, a ruined statue recounted from a faraway land. Shakespeare generates the image of an idealized beauty that his lover, ironically, does not live up to.
Both poems use the central image to create irony. Shakespeare's list of hyperbolized beauty traits (coral red lips, breasts as white as snow) serves to illustrate how ludicrous such expectations are of female beauty. Similarly, Shelley's fallen statue underscores the hubris of the king unwilling to acknowledge the inevitability of his own demise.