How can I describe the might of Ozymandias in "Ozymandias" by Percy Bysshe Shelley?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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In "Ozymandias" by Percy Bysshe Shelley, a traveler stumbles on the remains of a statue of Ramses II or Ramses the Great, who was known as Ozymandias in Greek. Ozymandias was historically the most powerful of Egyptian pharaohs and known, among other things, for his monumental building program.

In the poem, the first image of the greatness of Ozymandias is the sheer size of the statue. The legs are described as "vast" and the statue as "colossal", something that is true of much Egyptian monumental statuary, which is done on a massive scale. Next, the traveler describes the statue as having an arrogant, commanding expression. Finally, on the base of the statue are inscribed the words "Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair", an inscription indicating power and arrogance. 

The point of the tale though, is the fleeting quality of such power; Ozymandias is now dead and his statue lies fallen, broken, and partially covered in sand. 

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