Describe how Ozymandias' dream of overawing and dazzling the posterity with his mighty deeds and achievements was reduced to dust.

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"Ozymandias" by Percy Bysshe Shelley is a sonnet with a somewhat unconventional rhyme scheme. It is written in the voice of a first person narrator who meets a traveler. The first two lines of the poem describe that meeting and the remainder of the poem is the speech by the traveler talking about his encounter with a fallen statue of Rameses II, an Egyptian pharaoh who was called Ozymandias in ancient Greek.

The traveler describes the arrogant and contemptuous look on the face of the sculpture and its vast size, as well as the inscription on the pedestal: "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!" These elements in the poem emphasize how Ozymandias intended to impress and awe posterity.

The traveler then describes the statue as having fallen on the ground, shattered, and been partially covered up be sand. It is located in a remote area where few people pass, and soon will vanish completely under the desert sand. Thus rather than being an emblem of the great power and fame of Ozymandias it stands as mute testimony to the ephemeral nature of even the greatest and most powerful kings. 

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