Percy Bysshe Shelley Questions and Answers

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How does the statue of King Ozymandias express his position and authority?

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The statue of Ozymandias has words carved into its pedestal that express his position and authority:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
These words tell us not only that he is a king, but king of kings, or, in his opinion, first or greatest among all kings. His authority rests on his being a monarch and on his "Works," presumably the great kingdom that is spread all around him. He uses fear to project authority, expecting the powerful to "despair" or feel incapable of challenging him when they see the kingdom he has built.
The statute also expresses authority through its "vast" size and through the expression on it face. Ozymandias's face has a "sneer of cold command." It also "frowns," His arrogant expression shows he feels superior. He does not have to smile or look pleasing to others.
All of this ironic. The statue now is broken on the desert floor. The once mighty kingdom is completely gone, replaced with desert sands.

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